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Uber, Lyft Workers Demand Paid Sick Leave As Coronavirus Cases Grow

Gig economy companies such as Uber Inc.

Benzinga · 03/11/2020 11:07

Gig economy companies such as Uber Inc. (NYSE: UBER) and Lyft Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) have put in place measures to protect their workers from the impact of the coronavirus.

What Happened

The ride-sharing companies plan to compensate drivers who have been infected for up to 14 days. Other companies who employ gig workers such as Postmates and Instacart are allowing workers to deliver food using “no contact” by leaving food at the customer’s doorstep reported CNBC.

However, these measures are inadequate, according to the employees. Gig Workers Rising, a community of app and platform workers, tweeted, “Uber/Lyft drivers, Instacart shoppers, DoorDash delivery folks are all engaging w/riders, dropping off packages, on the frontline of exposure to coronavirus. But we're forced to work, denied sick time. We're demanding these companies change that.”

“We call on policymakers of California to hold gig economy companies like Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, Handy, and Instacart accountable and require them to immediately provide paid time off to their app and platform workers,” wrote the community of app and platform workers in an online petition.

Why It Matters

In September 2019, California passed a law called Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). This law gives gig workers the status of employees. Other states are mulling similar legislation. If this bill is enacted nationwide, it will impact nearly 15.5 million U.S. workers.

Uber joined hands with Lyft to try to stop the AB5 law in the courts but failed.

Elsewhere, France’s top court has ruled that Uber drivers should be considered as employees. The court said, “When connecting to the Uber digital platform, a relationship of subordination is established between the driver and the company.’ It added, “Hence, the driver does not provide services as a self-employed person, but as an employee.”

Price Action

Uber shares traded 2.66% lower at $28.20 in the after-hours session on Tuesday. The shares had closed the regular session 2.84% higher at $28.97.

Lyft shares traded 2.34% lower at $32.12 in the after-hours session on Tuesday. The shares had closed the regular session 0.24% higher at $32.89.