Traditional employees aren’t the only ones feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Gig workers, like Uber and Lyft drivers, are also suffering as a result of the widespread economic standstill. As people stay at home to combat the spread, demand for rideshare services is down dramatically.
This means that countless drivers are now out of work. For many, apps like Uber are their main source of income. Although the company can’t do anything about the decrease in rides it is trying to help workers affected by the coronavirus crisis. On Monday, Uber unveiled an all-new Work Hub. The feature is designed to help drivers find ways to earn money via temporary gigs.
Introducing the Work Hub
The gig economy has exploded in the past few years. With services like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash rising to prominence, countless people make a sustainable living by working for them.
Unfortunately, events like the coronavirus pandemic demonstrate how fragile gig-work can be. Although traditional workers are also affected by business closures, most of them have things like health insurance and are still supported in some way by their employer.
Uber doesn’t actually employ its drivers (at least not for now). However, it is still trying to support them in some way. Drivers can use the Work Hub to find temporary gigs through the company’s other ventures. For instance, a driver could deliver food through Uber Eats or haul cargo through its trucking business Uber Freight.
Moreover, Uber Works will connect drivers with more than a dozen other companies who are looking to hire new employees. Places like Amazon and UPS are hiring hundreds of thousands of new workers to help meet an increased number of package deliveries from online orders. Grocery stores are another area where more employees are needed.
Drivers can find opportunities for gigs through Kroger’s meal kit and delivery company Home Chef. Other third-party companies participating in the Work Hub program include McDonald’s, FedEx, Dollar Tree, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, PepsiCo, Land O’Lakes, and Albertsons, among others.
For now, Work Hub will only be available to U.S.-based drivers. However, Uber plans to partner with U.K. retailers in the near future. Work Hub is updated in real-time with new opportunities and job opportunities.
Uber has a tumultuous history both with the public and with its drivers. Fortunately, it appears that the rideshare company is doing the right thing to support the lifeblood of its operations during this chaotic time.
In March, Uber announced that it is expanding sick pay benefits for drivers who test positive for COVID-19. Those who are specifically asked to quarantine or who are infected can receive up to 14 days of paid sick leave. That amount will be based on an average of daily earnings over the last six months. Drivers need to have completed at least one ride in the 30 days before March 6 to qualify.
Meanwhile, New York City is temporarily hiring out-of-work Uber and Lyft drivers to fill various positions. It’s likely that other major cities will follow.
For those who still need some form of income, the new Work Hub could be a valuable resource. Although the opportunities may not be ideal, they could help drivers-in-need get through this difficult time.