Millions of gig economy workers need help now to make coronavirus lockdowns work

The UK is banning people from leaving their homes apart from for a few "very limited" reasons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced, as he imposed the most stringent restrictions seen in Britain since the end of World War II.

Posted: Mar 24, 2020 12:41 PM
Updated: Mar 24, 2020 12:41 PM

Millions of gig economy workers across the world are facing an impossible choice as a result of the coronavirus pandemic: break lockdown rules, or stay home and earn nothing.

The dilemma was illustrated Tuesday by images of packed subway cars in London less than 12 hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced stricter social distancing measures as part of a nationwide lockdown.

The new coronavirus restrictions mean people are only allowed to leave their homes for medical reasons, to grocery shop or exercise once a day, and to travel to and from work when absolutely necessary.

In the United States, at least 16 states have issued stay-at-home orders which, once in effect, will impact 142 million people, or 43% of the US population, according to data compiled by CNN.

But lockdowns won't be effective if individuals who cannot work from home continue reporting to job sites because not doing so would deprive them of income.

The UK government's pledge to subsidize up to 80% of wages does not apply to the country's 5 million self-employed workers, who have been given limited relief through the tax and welfare systems. The lack of cover has prompted calls for the government to also support gig economy workers.

The Trades Union Congress, which represents nearly 50 UK labor unions, said in a statement Monday that existing measures for self-employed people, which include delayed income tax payments and access to up to £94 ($112) a week through the benefits system, are "clearly not good enough."

The opposition Labour Party has called on the government to urgently extend financial assistance to the self-employed so that "nobody risks losing their income by staying home."

"Many of those traveling to work today ... work in the gig economy or are freelancers," London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Tuesday on Twitter. "A proper package of support for these workers would alleviate this situation and help public transport, and I've raised this with the government," he added.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on Monday urged President Donald Trump to include protections and benefits for independent workers as part of the country's economic stimulus. Some 15.9 million Americans, or 10% of the country's workforce, are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

US laws "should protect all workers, not just one type of work," Khosrowshahi said in a letter to Trump in which he calls on government to consider a longer-term safety net for gig economy workers.

More than 1.3 million Americans work on Uber's platform. The company had 3.9 million drivers worldwide at the end of 2018. It largely views such workers as independent contractors not eligible for benefits.

Uber said in a statement that it is providing drivers and delivery people with financial assistance for up to 14 days if they are diagnosed with the coronavirus or placed into quarantine by a public health authority. By comparison: the UK wage subsidy will run for at least three months.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 707111

Reported Deaths: 13216
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion963501718
Lake51613944
Allen39106671
Hamilton34449405
St. Joseph33979539
Elkhart27255432
Vanderburgh22060394
Tippecanoe21765212
Porter17945298
Johnson17507374
Hendricks16786310
Clark12681190
Madison12338337
Vigo12204244
Monroe11443166
LaPorte11118204
Delaware10341184
Howard9652211
Kosciusko9114114
Hancock7964139
Bartholomew7880155
Warrick7681155
Floyd7555176
Wayne6895198
Grant6837171
Boone6541100
Morgan6390138
Dubois6079117
Marshall5779108
Dearborn569876
Cass5683102
Henry5572100
Noble540683
Jackson493069
Shelby478495
Lawrence4338118
Gibson427989
Harrison427670
Clinton418653
Montgomery417786
DeKalb409184
Huntington378680
Whitley377939
Miami372465
Knox365989
Steuben364457
Putnam352560
Jasper350146
Wabash347678
Adams337952
Ripley334568
Jefferson312980
White308154
Daviess289299
Wells286281
Decatur278792
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268533
Scott261053
Clay253244
LaGrange252470
Randolph235280
Washington230731
Spencer227631
Jennings224747
Fountain208445
Sullivan207742
Starke203952
Owen192156
Fulton191439
Jay186029
Carroll185720
Perry180236
Orange177253
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130234
Pulaski113645
Newton103534
Brown100040
Crawford97614
Benton96713
Martin82615
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55711
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1052099

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1221671356
Cuyahoga1070432069
Hamilton781801168
Montgomery50040996
Summit45383909
Lucas40122765
Butler37721570
Stark31437895
Lorain24166473
Warren23885293
Mahoning20905583
Lake20009362
Clermont19441229
Delaware18038130
Licking16124207
Fairfield15708197
Trumbull15585460
Medina14868259
Greene14668236
Clark13634293
Wood12767185
Portage12384196
Allen11328229
Richland11041198
Miami10536214
Muskingum8706127
Wayne8576209
Columbiana8546226
Pickaway8436121
Marion8377135
Tuscarawas8376240
Erie7566154
Hancock6714123
Ross6699146
Geauga6537146
Ashtabula6495165
Scioto6289101
Belmont5626158
Union557647
Lawrence5467102
Jefferson5324147
Huron5307114
Darke5273121
Sandusky5174120
Seneca5124120
Washington5076107
Athens501556
Auglaize475684
Mercer471684
Shelby456090
Knox4387108
Madison422859
Putnam421599
Ashland413188
Fulton409467
Defiance402596
Crawford3872101
Brown386455
Logan372976
Preble370398
Clinton361560
Ottawa356978
Highland347059
Williams326774
Champaign320657
Jackson308451
Guernsey306649
Perry289949
Fayette277848
Morrow275339
Hardin264264
Henry263766
Coshocton259457
Holmes253399
Van Wert239162
Gallia233346
Pike233331
Adams228552
Wyandot227253
Hocking209059
Carroll189247
Paulding168638
Meigs141538
Noble132837
Monroe128841
Morgan106623
Harrison105336
Vinton81514
Unassigned02
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