Amazon has told its contract Flex drivers, which deliver the e-commerce company’s packages, to stay home if they get sick amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to a memo obtained by OneZero. However, unlike Amazon’s hourly workers, who will receive their regular pay even if they have to stay home, it seems as if the company’s Flex drivers won’t be compensated for their missed work.
Here’s the full memo, from OneZero:
It’s worth noting that Amazon doesn’t specifically say in this memo that Flex drivers won’t be paid — but any time one of those drives isn’t working, they aren’t getting paid, similar to Uber and Lyft drivers. So if they’re homebound due to coronavirus, it doesn’t seem as if the company will be taking care of them in any way. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
Right now, other companies that rely on gig workers also don’t provide restitution for those workers if they have to take time away due to coronavirus. However, on Friday, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) sent letters to Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Instacart asking them to provide financial assistance to gig workers who may get sick or have to self-quarantine due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“I strongly urge that you attempt to address the potential financial hardship for your workers if they are sick or have to self-quarantine during this time,” said Warner in the letters. “In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, it is critical that platform companies lead by example by committing that economic uncertainty will not be deterrents to their workers following public health guidance during the response.”
An Uber spokesperson said that the company is “exploring compensation for drivers who have been quarantined or diagnosed with coronavirus, whether independently, through a fund, or in partnership with peer companies,” in a statement given to The Los Angeles Times.
Lyft said it is “focused on taking appropriate actions and are actively planning for multiple scenarios,” in a statement to TechCrunch. “We stand ready to coordinate with government officials.” Both Uber and Lyft have also shared guidance with drivers to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Postmates plans to brief Warner’s office on plans to “invest in the well being of our flexible workforce,” the company told TechCrunch. The company also added a “non-contact” delivery option on Friday to allow for meals to be dropped off or left by a customer’s door to cut down on direct contact between delivery drivers and Postmates users.
Grubhub said it is “focused on prioritizing the health and safety of our drivers, diners and restaurant partners,” in a statement to The Los Angeles Times. “We share Senator Warner’s concerns about the safety and welfare of our drivers and look forward to working with the Senator on these important issues.”
DoorDash said it “will continue to provide the latest public health guidance to consumers, Dashers and merchants and remind our community in affected areas of the delivery instruction feature, enabling requests for food to be left at the door along with a photo of where the food should be left through the app,” in a statement to The Los Angeles Times. The company also sold The Los Angeles Times that it planned to talk with Warner today.
TechCrunch said Instacart has not yet replied to a request for comment. It hasn’t replied to a request from The Verge, either.
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