Back in 2020, research revealed that gig economy workers were among the hardest hit economically by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today, they’re still feeling the fallout of the virus. Gig economy workers often don’t have access to sick pay, so can’t afford to take time off. And where they do have sickness insurance, it’s not always coming up trumps.
This didn’t sit right with us. While it’s common practice for Covid-related illness to be largely excluded from insurance policies, we’re proud to say we’ve become one of the first in our space to include it as standard.
Here’s the full low-down👇
What we’ve done
Our sickness insurance is designed to give gig economy workers peace of mind by enabling them to take paid time off if they’re too ill or injured to work. But until recently, this excluded being ill from Covid.
We’ve now removed that exclusion, so workers protected by our sickness insurance can take paid time off if they’re not able to work for at least 7 days because of Covid (and have this signed off by a doctor).
Why it matters
The pandemic saw certain areas of the gig economy thrive. Deliveries sky-rocketed for platforms like Just Eat and, in one study, over a quarter of workers reported having more work than usual. But there’s been a darker side to the pandemic for the gig economy, too.
In 2021, a study of 1000 gig workers carried out by Collective Benefits showed that 36% still worked when they were ill because they couldn’t afford to take time off work.
Other research showed that over 75% of gig economy workers were concerned about health risks at work during the pandemic. And that’s with good reason, too. For example, taxi drivers are an occupation with one of the highest rates of Covid-19 related deaths. This is compared to less than 25% of people in other types of self-employment.
All of this sits against a historic backdrop of poor protections and rights for platform economy workers – the landmark Uber employment tribunal of 2021 being one of the most high-profile examples of this (the final ruling was that Uber drivers should be classed as workers with access to the minimum wage and paid holidays).
Taking steps to make sure platform economy workers are able to take time off sick is one of the most impactful ways to redress the balance and ensure the gig economy can continue to thrive long into the future.
At Collective Benefits, we believe that platform economy businesses have a duty of care towards their workers. We also know that protecting them and helping them feel more secure is one of the best ways to ensure the success of a business.
That’s why we’ll continue to keep our finger on the pulse, to make sure everything from our sickness insurance to our money-saving benefits stay relevant and genuinely useful.
Watch this space 😌
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