In a bid to support gig workforce, Gurugram-based hyperlocal services provider Urban Company is working on several programmes, CEO Abhiraj Bhal told Inc42.
Bhal said that the company has launched an interest-free loans programme under which INR 11 Cr is being disbursed to these eligible partners. Bhal said that approximately 85% i.e. 22K of the company’s total gig partners are eligible for the programme.
The company is offering business advance to these partners, with a delayed payback period. Under this, INR 11 Cr has been disbursed by the company, which most partners have already availed and rest would be completed by Monday.
Yesterday, @urbancompany_UC approved an interest free business advance for nearly 22,000 service partners, amounting to over INR 11 Cr. This advance will help them run their households during these trying times. Our WhatsApp is now flooded with thank you messages #FightBackCOVID pic.twitter.com/cQAJTFfJLr
— Abhiraj Singh Bhal (@abhirajbhal) March 28, 2020
Bhal added that earlier the company had tied up with NGO Shrinidhi to create a fund to most impacted service professionals. In this, the founders along with investors and employees have pooled in INR 1.5 Cr and now has been opened to customers to donate with a target of INR 3 Cr. Bhal said that this is a grant for the professionals, unlike the loans programme.
Further, the company is also working on a Covid-19 health insurance and income protection programme for all partners. Under this, the service professionals who are suffering from the Covid-19 disease will be granted INR 25K for hospital bills and INR 14K under income protection. These would be in addition to the already existing insurance and benefits the company offers to all its partners.
Urban Company is also working on two other programmes:
- Project Kawacch to provide all partners with protective gear which have been sanitised under best practices. It is also offering one-to-one counselling sessions for all partners and plans to get all partners tested in 1-1.5 months
- Suraksha holidays for partners who come under any sickness during this period. This is a 20-day sick leave with INR 500 to be paid as compensation to stay at home
With this plan, Urban Company joins the likes of Ola, Zomato, etc which have set up dedicated funds to help the gig workers amid the pandemic of coronavirus.
Recently, Ola announced a Drive the Driver Fund to offer relief to the driver community. While Bhavish Aggarwal, cofounder and CEO will forgo a year’s salary, Ola group and employees have also contributed INR 20 Cr to the fund. The crowdfunding initiative launched by Ola Foundation has been set up to provide relief to the drivers which are not able to operate under the country’s lockdown.
Zomato has set up a fund for delivery partners, but it is a crowd-sourcing initiative, which has no commitment directly from the company. Known as ‘Feed the Daily Wager’, the fund has crowdsourced money from users. Over the next few months, several of these businesses are expected to be impacted and currently, under lockdown, these workers are not able to get their daily income.