SEATTLE—Uber has agreed to pay greater than $3.4 million to fifteen,000 drivers after making errors associated to Seattle’s pioneering paid sick depart legislation masking gig staff.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seattle Metropolis Council final 12 months quickly prolonged sick and secure depart protections to gig staff, who beforehand didn’t qualify as a result of many firms deal with them as unbiased contractors.
The legislation permits the employees to accrue and take paid days off—based mostly on their common every day compensation, together with ideas—to look after themselves or members of the family who get sick. The concept was to scale back the monetary stress on them to maintain working, presumably spreading the virus, at a time when individuals had been turning into extra reliant on gig staff to carry out duties like grocery supply.
It additionally permits them them to take paid day off for different causes, comparable to to hunt assist in home violence instances or to care for youngsters whose colleges had been closed due to the pandemic.
Seattle’s Workplace of Labor Requirements started investigating after drivers complained that they weren’t receiving the advantages from Uber as required.
The workplace stated in a information launch Thursday that Uber performed a number of audits after the investigation started. The corporate found that technical glitches prevented some drivers from having the ability to entry their paid-time-off accounts on the app; some had time-off requests inadvertently canceled; some had incorrect time-off balances of their accounts; and a few had been required to attend till the day after their time-off request to take it.
The corporate voluntarily fastened these points, the workplace stated.
The settlement consists of almost $1.3 million in again pay, curiosity, damages, and civil penalties for two,329 staff, in addition to almost $2.2 million upfront cost of unused paid day off to fifteen,084 staff.
The corporate stated it had already put aside the latter quantity for drivers who accrued sick time. Underneath the settlement, it’s merely paying a kind of days to every eligible driver now moderately than later.
Uber didn’t admit legal responsibility within the settlement settlement.
“Getting access to paid sick days throughout this pandemic means we will maintain our prospects and our households secure and wholesome,” one of many drivers, Jamel Jara, stated within the information launch.
Harry Hartfield, Uber’s public affairs supervisor, stated within the information launch that the corporate labored over just a few weeks to construct a brand new cost system to adjust to the brand new legislation.
“Whereas the overwhelming majority of staff claimed their Paid Sick and Secure Time with out a problem, we’re grateful that the Workplace of Labor Requirements labored in partnership with us as we improved our techniques to make sure correct and immediate funds,” Hartfield stated.
The paid sick depart protections for gig staff expire 180 days after the tip of the civil emergency declared by public officers in response to the pandemic.
By Gene Johnson