Daily Management Review

Industry-Wide Model For Benefits For Gig Worker Proposed By Uber In Canada


Industry-Wide Model For Benefits For Gig Worker Proposed By Uber In Canada
The ride hailing company Uber proposed a flexible benefits fund for drivers and delivery people for its food delivery subsidiary in Canada was proposed by the firm on Monday according to which data on workers' hours and earnings would be shared by all gig industry players.
The company outlined the preliminary proposal in a blog post in which it said that the fund would be used to provide cash benefits to workers in the gig economy which the workers can use as retirement benefits or for a life insurance plan, or for paying for educational or for dental and health care benefits that are not covered by universal healthcare system of Canada.
Uber said in the blog post that the benefits fund would be enabled by Canada's provincial governments but is proposed ot be managed by ride-hail and delivery companies. It however did not provide any further details. 
Data about ride-hail and delivery companies would be shared by gig economy companies which would then pay money proportionately into the fund. If workers met a threshold, they would also become eligible for fund benefits, the blog post said did not elaborate further.
It welcomed discussions with other industry players, Uber said in a statement, and added that the idea of the benefits fund was prompted by a recent Ontario government submission.
Those companies that wanted to provide their workers with benefits while maintaining their flexibility would also be welcomed to join the fund, said DoorDash Inc in a statement. The company however did not directly name Uber's plan.
There were no comments available from Lyft Inc and Just Eat Takeaway.com's Grubhub.
It supports setting up of benefits funds everywhere, Uber said, but added that such efforts would essentially pursue a different approach in every country depending on the specific labor laws, social safety nets and different cultures of specific countries. It added that Monday’s fund proposal was customised for Canada.
There have been criticisms of companies of the gig economy for long over them not providing or offering very little benefits and protections for their independent contractor workers.
There is a demand among many labor unions and lawmakers about classification of gig economy employees as employees.
A number of lawsuits have been filed against companies in this industry in Canada and the United States over alleged misclassification of workers. The companies have however denied reclassification of their workers as employees, pointing out to surveys that revealed that the majority of their workers did not want to be classified as employees.
Limited benefit models while maintaining workers' contractor status have been suggested by the companies in recent years which include proposals such as the one in California where voters approved such a proposal last year.
The argument that many drivers work for multiple platforms at once, which actually complicates the apportioning of benefits has been put forward by companies at times.
Uber advocated for industry-wide reforms that held every company to the same standards in a March blog post outlining its initial Canadian proposal.