Under Pressure From Drivers Guild, Uber to No Longer Require Positive COVID-19 Test to Get Sick Pay, IDG Urges New York City to Require Lyft and Via to Follow Suit
IDG Calls to End Pool Rides Amid ‘Social Distancing’ during COVID-19 Outbreak
The Independent Drivers Guild, a Machinists Union affiliate which represents and advocates for more than 80,000 New York City ride-hail drivers, is calling for a moratorium on shared “pool” rides amid the COVID-19 outbreak and at a time when authorities are urging social distancing. The IDG is also calling on New York City to require all ride-hail apps to provide 14 days of sick pay for any drivers directed to self-isolate by a licensed medical professional, a policy Uber recently adopted under pressure from the Guild.
“Packing five strangers in a pooled ride is a bad idea right now. For the health and safety of drivers, riders and our communities, we are urging a moratorium on shared or “pool” rides,” said Brendan Sexton, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild.
“Requiring a positive COVID-19 test to get sick pay is just not practical given the testing shortage. Uber has done the right thing by expanding its sick pay policy and we are calling for New York City to require Lyft and Via to follow suit,” said Sexton. “Drivers with symptoms are much more likely to stay at home when they can receive sick pay — and that is how we stop the spread of COVID-19.”
“The lives of drivers, riders and members of our communities depend on our city and the app companies taking responsible action right now, today, and communicating these policies and resources to the drivers,” added Sexton.
Under pressure from the Independent Drivers Guild, Uber has expanded its sick pay policy for drivers amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Ride-hail apps Uber, Lyft and Via previously promised sick pay to drivers but initially required drivers to have a positive COVID-19 test or an individual quarantine order from a public health authority to qualify. There are only limited Covid-19 tests, and it is unlikely that a public health authority would tell any individual driver to stay home, so these requirements seemed designed to avoid payments. Uber has done the right thing and will provide sick pay to any driver whose doctor advises to self-isolate. Uber will calculate the sick pay based on the driver’s average daily pay for the previous six months, with drivers eligible to receive up to 14 days of pay. Uber also set a minimum payment of $50 for U.S. drivers. IDG is calling on New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to require all high volume ride-hail apps to follow suit.
The Independent Drivers Guild advocated for and won a free telemedicine benefit for New York’s ride-hail and black car drivers in 2018 through the state’s Black Car Fund. With this free telemedicine benefit, qualifying for Uber’s sick pay is now as simple as a quick phone or video chat with a doctor. The IDG urges all drivers experiencing symptoms or concerned about their risks to take advantage of this important resource and stay home.The Governor and CDC are recommending telemedicine amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The IDG is also urging Uber, Lyft, and Via to include an in-app button for New York drivers to access this critical benefit.