Coronavirus highlights tensions for gig workers

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

From The Mercury News, discusses the challenges facing independent contractors and gig workers during the coronavirus crisis. Erica writes:

But for gig workers who help fuel the thriving tech economy, staying home means giving up money they need to pay the bills, setting up a tension that some fear could affect efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

“In a lot of ways what this situation lays bare is how our larger social economic political conditions really affect the ability to comply with these kinds of recommendations that public health officials are giving us,” says Lili Farhang, co-director of the Oakland-based public health organization Human Impact Partners. “The control of coronavirus is wholly dependent on people’s ability to comply with this recommendation to isolate. And that recommendation, that precaution, is totally impractical for people who lack adequate health insurance, who don’t have paid sick leave, or who don’t have the option to work from home.”

Although there are no federal laws guaranteeing paid sick time, California requires employers to provide employees with three paid sick days each year.

But like many other gig workers, Maklad remains an independent contractor, not an employee, and says he does not receive employee health coverage or paid sick time. As for preemptively storing up to two week’s worth of food in the event he did become sick and could not leave the house? Too expensive, he says.

Uber, Lyft, Doordash and other delivery companies have advised drivers or delivery workers to stay safe — and to stay home if they aren’t feeling well. But advocates argue that creates a difficult choice for many workers.

“If you’re not feeling well and it’s between not driving and falling behind on bills and rent, what are you going to choose?” says Lauren Casey, gig economy campaign lead with working Partnerships USA.

Read the full story at  Coronavirus highlights tensions for gig workers

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