Sen. Mark Warner has written several gig companies, including Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Postmates, Grubhub and DoorDash, about financial help for workers as well as several ideas to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report.
“As the United States mobilizes to respond to the recent outbreak and spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, I write to urge you to publicly commit to prioritizing your workers’ economic security and the broader public health during this response,” he said.
“I strongly urge that you attempt to address the potential financial hardship for your workers if they are sick or have to self-quarantine during this time. In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, it is critical that platform companies lead by example by committing that economic uncertainty will not be deterrents to their workers following public health guidance during the response.”
The senator’s press release said that gig and contingent workers were the most vulnerable to an outbreak of the coronavirus. And due to their status, they generally don’t have paid leave or health insurance.
“As a result, many of these workers risk missing income or paying high out-of-pocket healthcare costs if they fully comply with public health instructions to be tested, self-quarantine or take other ‘social distancing’ measures,“ the release said.
Uber said it is exploring compensation for drivers who have been diagnosed with the disease, and that it will keep the senator updated. Lyft said it is prepared to coordinate with government officials, and DoorDash said it will talk to the Senator about “innovative solutions” to help workers.
Delivery company Postmates recently introduced a way for people to drop off items without contact, and said it would “continue to encourage employees, merchants, consumers and all parts of our community to follow safety protocols, such as washing hands and staying in if you are sick.”