Uber subsidizes benefits for U.K. drivers

Uber drivers in Britain are now eligible for certain employee benefits.

After completing 500 trips, active drivers can join the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed and receive disability benefits of up to £2,000 that kicks in if they’re unable to work for at least two weeks. They can also receive up to £2,000 in jury service cover and free advice and support on personal finance issues, such as tax, mortgages, pension and savings.

Read: The intricacies of providing benefits in the gig economy

To access these benefits, drivers will pay £2 a week, which Uber says it’s subsidizing.

“Drivers who make money through Uber tell us they love the freedom of being their own boss and choosing if, when and where they drive,” Jo Bertram, regional general manager of Uber in the UK, said in a release. “But drivers have also told us they want more security if something unexpected happens. We want Uber to be the best possible experience so we’ll carry on listening to drivers about further improvements we can make to our app.”

Read: California Uber drivers turn to Teamsters in push for benefits

In October 2016, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled Uber drivers should be classified as employees, rather than independent contractors, and are therefore eligible for holiday pay, paid breaks and the national minimum wage. Uber is appealing the decision.

And in February 2017, Uber drivers in Ontario filed a class action lawsuit, arguing they’ve been misclassified as independent contractors and should be treated as employees.

Read: Ontario Uber drivers launch class action in bid to be considered employees