- The Senate on Wednesday passed its $2 trillion coronavirus economic bailout bill, which included provisions that would make gig-economy workers eligible for unemployment insurance.
- Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi welcomed the bill, and said he hoped the government would pass more laws in future making contract workers eligible for further benefits.
- Uber has always fought vehemently against legislation that would re-classify its drivers as employees.
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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted on Wednesday night welcoming the US Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
Under the new bill, gig economy workers including Uber drivers would be eligible to apply for unemployment insurance, something they had no access to in previous years as they qualify as contractors, not employees, for Uber.
Khosrowshahi thanked the Senate in a tweet, and added that he hoped the bill would pass and in future the US government would “push for new laws permitting cos like @Uber to provide new benefits going fwd [forward].”
Thanks to the Senate for supporting 1.3M @Uber drivers & delivery people. Many independent workers are on the frontlines; all deserve support. Hope the House will act on this bill & govt will join our push for new laws permitting cos like @Uber to provide new benefits going fwd
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) March 26, 2020
The $2 trillion stimulus includes an allocation of $250 billion to make unemployment insurance more widely available and to extend how long it’s available for.
Khosrowshahi wrote an open letter to President Trump earlier this week appealing to him to include Uber drivers in his economic support package for those affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and to establish new laws bridging the gap between salaried employees and contract workers.
The House is due to vote on the bill on Friday.
The coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the precarity of gig economy workers, who don’t qualify as full-time employees and thus don’t tend to be able to claim sick pay and other protections.
Uber has historically fought against any legislation which would force it to reclassify its drivers as employees and pay benefits, claiming it would threaten its business model.