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Leveraging and protecting the gig economy against COVID-19

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

By Ola Mobility Institue

This report by Ola Mobile Institute, the research arm of the Indian ride-sharing company Ola highlights the various approaches and measures by both companies and governments to provide temporary relief to gig workers. It notes that new economy businesses are strengthening safety measures, adapting work environments, providing health access to all, expanding paid leave, and securing livelihoods.

It adds that governments have announced policy measures - from fiscal and monetary policies such as unemployment benefits, tax relief, and targeted liquidity provisions, to lending and financial support - to minimize the human and economic impact of COVID-19 and particularly protect the gig workers.

Over the last weeks, several news articles have also highlighted some of such efforts.

Uber, Lyft, and Dubai based Careem are lobbying governments to step in and help thousands of drivers.

SweepSouth in South Africa and India-based Swiggy and Ola have launched fundraising drives for the workers.

Gig workers in the UK and the US now have access to unemployment benefits.

However, Fairwork, which advocates for better working conditions for gig workers, found that some of the measures put in place by the platforms are geared more toward protecting the customers and are leaving the gig workers in the cold.

Uber has been forced to review its sick policy after the outcry from drivers.

The OLA report recommends that additional measures to protect gig workers for future resilience need to be taken.

“Revisiting labor classifications and restructuring social security nets may be in order once the pandemic ends.”


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