As venues and beaches are shut down and workers are told to stay at home, the gig economy continues on despite the potential risks. Rideshare drivers are some of those remaining on the frontline but Ola has announced it's giving affected drivers financial support if they miss out on work due to contracting coronavirus or being quarantined.
Ola has said it would provide drivers with up to 14 days of financial support in the event that they're required to quarantine or have tested positive for coronavirus.
That financial support will be equivalent to "14 days worth of their individual average daily earnings on the platform".
It also confirmed it would be working with health authorities around the country to ensure that any drivers testing positive or placed in quarantine would have their accounts temporarily locked.
"The health and safety of our driver-partners continue to be a top priority for us," Ola's Simon Smith said in a press release.
"While we continue to share health advisories to raise awareness levels, the COVID 19 fund adds a much-needed layer of financial security for drivers and their families in these challenging times."
Similarly, Uber Australia annnounced it would be doing the same. It says it will give "any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID‑19 or is individually asked to self‑isolate by a public health authority... financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold".
Gizmodo Australia contacted the popular rideshare service to ask what that financial support would look like and it outlined a similar plan to Ola's.
"The amount of assistance you receive will be based on your average daily earnings over the last six months. If you have been on Uber's platform for less than six months, your average earnings will be based on how much you have earned in the time between your first trip and March 6, 2020," Uber said in a press release.
Uber Australia confirmed it would also apply to Uber Eats partners.
Gig workers pose a clear danger where the continued spread of covid-19 is concerned. As to the open question of how to responsibly address this massive vector of workers, who are often uninsured and can’t afford not to work in spite of the risks, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has apparently washed his hands.