Lyft drivers and other gig workers across the country are hitting roadblocks when trying to access the sick leave promised by companies during the coronavirus pandemic. According to CNET, assistance is difficult to come by—even with an official COVID-19 diagnosis.
Initially, Lyft said on its website it would pay COVID-19-positive drivers sick leave based on “rides they provided on the Lyft platform over the last four weeks.” Now, however, that language has disappeared and the process of getting sick pay has become confusing and frustrating for many drivers.
A Lyft driver, wanting to be known only as Ben S., spoke with CNET regarding his struggle to get sick pay. Ben, 35, lives in Brooklyn, New York with his parents. After a number of family members, including his parents, contracted COVID-19, Ben did too.
He’d heard about Lyft’s promise of two weeks of sick pay for quarantined drivers, so he sent the company his doctor’s letter regarding the diagnosis. Eight days later, the company put a hold on his account—which means he is no longer allowed to drive until the hold is released. In regards to sick pay, however, Ben is still trying to obtain those funds.
Without out financial assistance, some drivers feel they may need to work even if they fall ill because they can’t afford not to. With how infectious the novel coronavirus is, drivers could inadvertently pass the illness on to other passengers. Some frustrated drivers have even begun staging strikes to demand more help during this difficult time. It has yet to be seen, however, how Lyft and other gig companies will respond to the demands for assistance.
The CDC is recommended employers offer workers paid sick leave if they’ve exposed to or infected with COVID-19 in an attempt to slow and spread and flatten the curve so hospitals don’t get overwhelmed. While some Uber drivers have reported receiving fair sick pay, Lyft’s unclear policy is leaving many drivers without an income.
A former senior Lyft employee, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, had this to say about Lyft’s actions during the pandemic: “It’s pretty concerning how [Lyft is] handling this and responding to the virus. It’s very company-first and doing what’s best for the company, but it’s at odds with what’s best for drivers and passengers.”
For more on the latest rideshare industry news, click here. At the Rideshare Law Group, we stay abreast of the current news and trends in the rideshare industry, so we can provide our clients with the best legal representation possible. If you have questions about a potential rideshare accident claim, contact us today.