Gig workers to get unemployment benefits during coronavirus crisis

Coronavirus

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Gig-economy workers that might otherwise be left behind by the economic downturn as a result of coronavirus will now receive benefits to keep them afloat.

For the first time, millions of independent contractors and gig economy workers can collect unemployment benefits.

“That’s one of the things I pushed hard for, and the democratic caucus pushed hard for,” Rep. Harley Rouda (D-CA) said.

Congressman Rouda says many self-employed Americans don’t have a safety net for the economic downturn caused by coronavirus.

Until now, millions of workers from freelance writers to ride-share drivers weren’t eligible for paid sick leave or insurance benefits.

Rouda says he and many fellow lawmakers from California worked hard to secure protections for those workers in the massive stimulus package the president signed into law Friday.

“It will better protect those workers that typically would not be protected under unemployment insurance,” Rouda said.

Rouda says the bill also includes one-time emergency payments and even small business loans for independent contractors.

“The gig-economy workers, the Uber drivers, etc. the folks that live paycheck to paycheck – those are the ones getting hit the hardest,” Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) said.

Congressman Ami Bera says some of the indirect relief measures in the stimulus package were intended for gig-economy workers.

“We’ve also put a moratorium on evictions. Make sure those folks don’t get kicked out of their apartments,” Bera said.

The private sector is stepping up as well.

Uber and Lyft are both providing temporary sick leave to some drivers impacted by COVID-19.

Postmates and Instacart announced similar measures.

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