Uber releases blueprint for Flexible Benefits Fund

Fund would be enabled by provinces, managed by industry

Uber releases blueprint for Flexible Benefits Fund

Uber is once again proposing to change the way app-based workers get benefits from their employer.

The ride-hailing company has released a blueprint or “industry approach” for its Flexible Benefits Fund.

“It’s never been more important to protect the flexibility of platform work, while providing additional benefits and protections to workers,” says Uber.

The blueprint builds on Uber’s Flexible Work+ proposal, which calls on provincial governments to set up an alternative set of regulations to govern gig workers and offer them "self-directed benefits" and "enhanced worker protections”.

How it works

The fund would be enabled by provincial governments and managed by industry for delivery and rideshare app-based platforms, says Uber. All platform companies would provide data on worker hours and earnings.

The organization would then tell each platform that they need to provide a certain amount to cover their share of the worker’s total benefits.

App-based delivery (DNC) and rideshare (TNC) workers would qualify for the benefits fund based on completing a specified amount of engaged hours per quarter, aggregated across all companies.

Once a worker’s aggregate hours exceed a given threshold, all their retained earnings in that quarter would be multiplied by the benefit rate at that level. The resulting benefit amount would be put into an account. Each app-based platform where the worker worked during that quarter would then pay its share of that benefit amount, based on its share of that worker’s earnings during the quarter.

Workers can then use the funds for a range of purposes, including health and dental benefits, life insurance, RRSP contributions and educational expenditures, says Uber.

Controversies for Uber

Earlier this month, a $400-million class-action lawsuit launched against Uber got certified. In September 2020, Uber asked drivers in Toronto to sign a contract stating they cannot take part in a $400-million lawsuit that seeks to recognize them as employees rather than independent contractors, according to a previous report.

Early in 2020, the British Columbia Federation of Labour (BCFED) reminded ride-hailing companies to comply with the province’s labour laws and ensure drivers have minimum labour protections.

In March this year, 13 labour groups from across Canada called on the provincial, territorial and federal governments to give full rights and protections to gig economy workers

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