It’s been a bad year for Uber. The ride-hailing giant suffered a series of PR blows last year thanks to the boorish behavior of CEO bro Travis Kalanick. Things got worse from there as a self-driving Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian in March 2018, followed by a recent economic study which shined light on just how little Uber drivers make. Can Uber recover? In a move to help retain drivers and appear like its CEOs actually have human souls, Uber announced some good news: drivers will now enjoy a host of benefits usually only available to full-time salaried workers. The bad news? It’s only available to drivers in Europe.
In a press release issued today, Uber UK announced that drivers will now have access to medical insurance, paid sick leave, workers compensation claims, and even parental leave, a program they’re calling “Partner Protection” insurance program:
Today we are announcing that we will provide a range of insurance coverage including sickness, injury and maternity & paternity payments for drivers in the UK and across Europe when they are on and off the Uber app. In partnership with AXA, one of the world’s most trusted insurers, our groundbreaking Partner Protection insurance program will be funded by Uber at no cost to drivers and delivery partners.
To be eligible for the program, drivers must have completed 150 trips in the previous eight weeks, while Uber Eats drivers must have completed 30 trips in the previous eight weeks. Uber continues to lose significant portions of its once-comfortable market share to its closest competitor, Lyft, and many outlets see these types of moves as an attempt to improve Uber’s public image. Will Uber drivers in the U.S. ever be offered such an insurance and benefits package? With the way things have been going for Uber drivers, it’s doubtful.