On Monday, Uber Technologies chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi wrote to President Donald Trump, asking him to provide financial aid to independent workers affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“I respectfully and urgently request that the economic stimulus you are considering, along with any other future legislative measures in response to COVID-19, include protections and benefits for independent workers, not just employees,” Khosrowshahi said in the letter.
The drivers on Uber and other ride-sharing platforms such as Lyft are classified as independent workers and don’t receive employee benefits, including healthcare.
“My goal in writing to you is not to ask for a bailout for Uber, but rather for support for the independent workers on our platform and, once we move past the immediate crisis, the opportunity to legally provide them with a real safety net going forward,” Khosrowshahi added. “[Our] laws should protect all workers, not just one type of work.”
The Uber CEO noted that Uber has about 1.3 million independent workers on its platform, who are facing financial uncertainty due to the reduced demand for rides during the pandemic.
Khosrowshahi also doubled down on maintaining the company’s position that classifying the drivers as employees is impossible for its business model.
“Each time a company provides additional benefits to independent workers, the less independent they become; and, without legislative clarity, the more uncertainty and risk the company bears,” he said.
Khosrowshahi counted Uber’s efforts against the coronavirus, including 14-day financial assistance it announced for drivers and delivery executives diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined by authorities.
The company has also promised to provide free disinfectants for all drivers, “as soon as they become commercially available,” the CEO pointed out.
Uber’s shares closed about 4% higher at $22.4 on Monday and added another 2.63% in the after-hours session at $22.99.
This story originally appeared on Benzinga.
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