Some Uber Customers Will Pay More So Drivers Can Buy Injury Insurance

Some Uber drivers now hold the option to buy insurance that protects them from the unexpected cost of getting injured on the job.

Uber will be charging customers in eight states an additional 5 cents per mile to cover the fees for personal injury insurance as fragment of an eight-state pilot program. The cost to drivers will be 3.75 cents per mile.

The tear follows the creation of a similar program in the UK, where Uber and other gig economy companies hold been under fire of late for their treatment of workers.

In the United States, the cost of a workplace injury is typically covered by an individual’s employer via worker’s compensation and disability insurance. Because Uber drivers are independent contractors, not employees, the ride-hail company isn’t required to offer these types of insurance coverage. Instead, with this unique way, Uber is shifting the cost of coverage to consumers, and allowing drivers to choose whether they pocket the additional cash or consume it to pay for insurance.

The optional pilot program will operate via insurance companies Aon and OneBeacon in Illinois, Massachusetts, South Carolina, West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, and will pay out up to $1 million for medical expenses, up to half of a driver’s average weekly earnings, and a maximum of $150,000 in survivor benefits.

Though stories like the one approximately an Uber driver who lost his legs in a car accident and was unable to continue working hold been used to galvanize anti-Uber driver strikes in the past, it’s unclear how many drivers would actually sign up for insurance by far than bewitch the additional money.

The failure of companies like Uber to supply workers with the same benefits and protections that traditional employees receive has for years been one of the chief criticisms of the gig economy. More recently, companies like cleaner-on-demand startup Handy hold worked with legislators to propose a portable benefits system, through which individual workers and the various platforms they work for would jointly pay into a single fund that could be used to cover the cost of things like health insurance or time off work due to injury.

But traditional labor groups see these efforts as an attempt by the industry to continue side-stepping the full cost of protecting and insuring the on-demand workforce.

National Employment Law Project director Rebecca Smith called Uber’s personal injury insurance pilot program an “attempt to shore up its faltering image” in an email statement circulated Tuesday.

“Instead of paying workers’ compensation premiums to cover every of its workers, as responsible businesses effect, Uber will charge drivers for the medical care and time-loss benefits that the rest of us accept by advantage of working at a job,” the statement reads. “What will it bewitch for Uber to stop the close-runs and other shenanigans and finally act like a responsible employer? whether Uber valued its workers, it would simply pay its workers’ compensation premiums and cover every of them.”

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