Not surprisingly in the wake of coronavirus-related lockdowns, Uber Technologies (UBER 4.30%) has seen demand for its ride-hailing services plummet. The company established an employee assistance plan in mid-March, granting up to 14 days of paid sick leave for drivers ill with COVID-19 or placed in quarantine.
As the contagion has progressed rather than regressed, however, Uber has become more creative in how it's helping its contracted work force find paying work. On Monday, the organization updated its app to connect its passenger drivers with its delivery service operations, like Uber Eats and Uber Freight. Moreover, the app now points Uber drivers to work opportunities with companies other than Uber. Pizza chain Domino's, Target's delivery network, Shipt, and McDonald's are just some of the employers with job openings Uber is presenting to its drivers.
The unusual move is a reflection of unusual circumstances. Uber's drivers, like those of rival Lyft (LYFT 1.51%), are contractors, which generally excludes them from traditional worker benefits like paid sick leave. Uber as well as Lyft have announced financial assistance programs for drivers, and Lyft has pointed its drivers toward jobs being offered by e-commerce giant Amazon.com. But, multiple reports about the difficulty of actually securing financial assistance from Uber and Lyft have surfaced.
Fortunately for affected drivers, the $2 trillion stimulus/recovery plan approved by the federal government late last month has been amended to specifically include contracted drivers.