Uber claims it mistakenly sent out an email to its drivers and delivery workers in May. The email states that the ride-hailing company is offering to cover some of their health insurance costs.
Uber revoked the offer two weeks after the email was sent out.
Uber Won’t Cover Health Insurance
On May 26, an email from Uber with the subject line “It’s a great time to get health coverage” was sent to an unspecified number of drivers and delivery workers.
When the respective drivers and deliver workers opened the email, they were greeted by an even more alluring proposition, stating that Uber can help cover their healthcare costs.
Drivers and couriers for Uber are classified as independent contractors, making them ineligible for any employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
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For years, many of these workers have campaigned for more protection and benefits, especially during the holidays. Unfortunately, they were faced with opposition from Uber.
This is the reason why the email came as a shock when the drivers and workers received it, with it stating that the company offers subsidies ranging from $613.77 to $1,277.54. It will depend on the type of insurance plan they had and the amount of hours they worked each week.
That kind of money could be very helpful for drivers, many of whom subsist on poverty-level wages and are struggling to find work amid a drop in demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
Uber’s Change of Mind
As it turns out, nothing has changed. Uber was suppose to send the email to drivers and workers in California only, and not in any other state.
The follow-up email stated that the company made a mistake sending the initial email, as the policy only applies to drivers and delivery people in California. Uber apologized for the error.
A spokesperson said that the company’s support team is working with drivers and delivery workers who got the email by mistake, according to Vox.
In 2020, Uber — together with Lyft, DoorDash, and other gig companies — poured over $200 million into the campaign to exempt them from a California state law that would require the companies to treat their workers like employees.
The companies opposed the law, arguing that it would eliminate driver flexibility, while also increasing consumer prices and wait times. The measure passed in November 2020 with 59% of the vote.
Uber and the other ride-hailing companies are required to give healthcare subsided equal to 41% the average premium for each month, as stated under Prop 22.
The subsidies should be given to drivers and couriers who average between 15 and 25 hours per week of engaged time. This would then explain the email, but it does not explain why it also ended up in the inboxes of drivers and couriers who do not reside in California.
Edward Burmila, a professor and occasional Uber driver was one of the workers who received the email. According to The Verge, Burmila stated that the email is the typical tactic that ride-share companies do to maintain the fiction that their labor force are not employees or workers.
Burmila added that Uber’s move shows that they will provide benefits for the riders only when they are forced to.
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Written by Sophie Webster
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