One of the most controversial facets of Uber’s business policy is how it classes its drivers. They aren’t employees, but rather self-employed contractors. This means they are ineligible for many of the things salaried workers take for granted – like sick pay, holiday pay, and the national minimum wage.
In the UK, Uber is addressing some of this criticism with a new partnership with the Association of Independent Professionals & the Self-Employed (IPSE).
The deal will give qualifying Uber drivers access to a range of benefits, with Uber subsidizing the cost of membership for any active partner that has completed over 500 trips.
IPSE offers sickness and injury cover of up to £2,000 ($2,580) if drivers are unable to work for two weeks or more. It will also cover lost earnings from serving on a jury up to the same amount.
If a driver is injured on the job, occupational accident cover of £300 per week is available, for a maximum of 52 weeks. There’s also accidental death and permanent total disablement cover of £50,000 ($64,500).
In addition, drivers have access to advice and support on tax issues, as well as keeping their personal finances in check. This extends to mortgages, pensions, and savings.
Drivers who wish to enroll in this scheme will have to pay £2 per week (roughly $2.5). This gets them the aforementioned package of benefits, which is valued at £8.
In a statement, Chris Bryce, Chief Executive of IPSE, said:
“IPSE is excited to partner with Uber and the thousands of self-employed drivers who use their app. In addition to gaining valuable illness and injury cover, drivers will benefit from being part of the UK’s largest voice dedicated to supporting the self-employed community. It is part of IPSE’s mission to represent all self-employed people and welcoming drivers who use Uber into the fold helps us achieve this.”
While this is nowhere near what you’d get as a salaried member of the British workforce, it’s a promising first step, and shows that Uber is listening to the concerns of its drivers and the public.