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Uber Australia confirms it will compensate drivers who are quarantined or diagnosed with coronavirus – paying them their average weekly earnings at minimum

Jenni Ryall
  • Uber announced it will compensate drivers who are diagnosed with coronavirus or need to be isolated.
  • A spokesperson for Uber Australia that the compensation program will be available locally ,but could not confirm if anyone locally had used it.
  • Business Insider Australia understands a driver will need to provide documentation through the app to claim compensation.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.

Uber announced it will roll out a global compensation program to drivers who are diagnosed with coronavirus or need to be isolated.

An Uber spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider Australia this program is currently available in Australia. Drivers can apply for 14 days of compensation through the driver app. To be eligible for compensation, they will need to be asked by a public health professional to self-isolate, removed from the app at the direction of a public health authority, or diagnosed with the coronavirus.

To claim compensation, a driver will need to provide documentation through the app.

An Uber Australia spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider Australia the compensation is calculated on average earnings.

"Our global task force is finalising this new policy but, at a minimum, compensation will be based on the individual’s average weekly earnings on the platform," the spokesperson said.

A Uber global spokesperson told Business Insider a global team was consulting with public health experts and organisations to work out further details of their compensation plan.

“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," Andrew Macdonald, Senior Vice President of Rides and Platform told Business Insider Australia in an emailed statement. "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."

Business Insider Australia understands no one in Australia has applied for the compensation to date.

“Drivers and delivery people are receiving in app messages reminding them of basic steps they can take to help prevent the spread of the virus which draws on advice from public health authorities," an Uber Australia spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“We are always working to help ensure the safety of everyone on the Uber platform and have formed a dedicated global team of Uber operations, security and safety executives, guided by the advice of a consulting public health expert, to respond as needed in each market where we operate around the world.”

Casual workers will feel the financial brunt of coronavirus heavily if they are required to quarantine, as they are not paid sick leave. It will have an even larger impact on casual workers in fields of work that have contact with the public and the inability to complete their work remotely.

Uber does not consider its drivers as employees, so they are not eligible for sick leave and other benefits. From this perspective, it is an early and smart step by Uber to help cushion the impact of the coronavirus on its workforce.

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus called on the government to provide support for casual workers who can't afford to take days off work as they are not paid sick leave.

"We don't want people with virus or people with symptoms going to work, but they are going to have to choose between paying the bills and feeding themselves or going to work," McManus said on Monday, according to the SMH.

"If your doctor is telling you to self-isolate, I think at that point, all workers should have access to paid leave."

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to announce a $10 billion stimulus package to help support vulnerable businesses through the crisis and boost domestic consumption. It is unclear if there will be compensation for casual workers.

If you are an Uber driver with more information, contact Business Insider.