While Uber was late to even release an advisory related to coronavirus to its driver-partners in India, the cab aggregating major is now planning to set up an emergency coronavirus fund for its drivers in the US.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Uber is setting up this fund to help drivers who are either infected or quarantined by Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The setting up of the fund comes after a driver-partner was recently tested positive for coronavirus in New York City.
Besides Uber, its competitor Lyft, and other companies such as food delivery platform DoorDash, hyperlocal delivery service provider Postmates, and grocery delivery company Instacart are also pooling money for this fund. This means that the fund will be used to help driver or delivery partners, who are either infected or quarantined by Covid-19, at all these services
Though the fund looks all positive, it has certain drawbacks too. Some drivers told WSJ that as the fund is only available after diagnosis or quarantine, it isn’t going to help the partners who are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19. These drivers would be left with no option but to venture on roads to earn income as they are yet to get paid leaves.
Will Uber Extend The Support To India?
In addition to the fund, Uber has already started paying its drivers, who are either infected or quarantined by Covid-19, in some parts of the world, according to Reuters. The company has also assured that it’ll compensate its all driver-partners in all the country it operates.
Speaking to Inc42, senior vice president of rides and platform Andrew Macdonald said that this policy is applicable in India. “We are supporting drivers and delivery people who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in quarantine by a public health authority. Drivers and delivery people in these situations will receive compensation for a period of up to 14 days. This has already begun in some markets and we are working to implement mechanisms to do this worldwide. We believe this is the right thing to do,” he added.
While the company is planning to set up a fund in the US, Uber, in Brazil, suspended 240 Uber users after authorities found two drivers were suspected to be exposed to the virus.
Earlier, Uber-rival Ola had told us that the company’s walk-in centres across cities have been equipped with a steady supply of health advisory materials and other precautionary materials such as sanitisers and masks. On the other hand, Inc42 noted that some of the Uber drivers were also wearing masks. But to our surprise, these masks were not provided by the company to the drivers as a precautionary measure for coronavirus.