COVID-19 Cases

As of mid-May, Uber spent $19 million in direct financial assistance to nearly 48,900 drivers worldwide

Image:-Uber app

For the first time on Thursday, Uber Technologies Inc. detailed how much it had spent supporting its ride-hail drivers and food delivery workers during the coronavirus crisis, which battered the company and forced it to lay off thousands of staff.

The company said it had spent $19 million in direct two-week financial assistance to a total of almost 48,900 drivers worldwide who were infected with the virus or ordered to quarantine in a blog post here by mid-May.

Half of that amount has been paid to 12,350 drivers and delivery workers in the U.S. and Canada, Uber's largest market, with some 1,3 million drivers there.

North American drivers received an average of nearly $650 under the program announced in mid-March, but payout amounts varied widely by location, with Uber limiting the maximum payment per city and calculating support based on prior earnings.

Uber did not provide a breakdown of payments in other countries, but a spokesperson said that financial assistance was provided in all of the more than 70 countries in which he operates.

The spokesman said the demand for support from drivers also varied depending on the existing national social safety net.

In online forums, ride-hail drivers have complained about an arduous approval process to receive financial support. Many drivers in the United States have also struggled to get unemployment benefits, typically reserved for employees.

Uber insists that its drivers are independent contractors, but in March the U.S. president was urged to include gig-economy workers in a federal coronavirus relief bill so that drivers could receive unemployment benefits.

Uber said it had earlier allocated $50 million to supply masks and disinfectants to drivers, and purchased some 28 million masks. To date, nearly half a million drivers and delivery persons have received safety supplies, the company said.

Article Edited by | John Heine |

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