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Uber announces benefits like sick pay, auto coverage for British drivers

By Brooke Baitinger
Uber UK announced Wednesday its drivers will receive additional non-wage benefits like sick and maternity leave, and pay for work-related injuries and bereavement. File Photo by Will Oliver/EPA-EFE
Uber UK announced Wednesday its drivers will receive additional non-wage benefits like sick and maternity leave, and pay for work-related injuries and bereavement. File Photo by Will Oliver/EPA-EFE

May 23 (UPI) -- Ride-hailing firm Uber said Wednesday it will give European drivers medical coverage and other benefits -- including compensation for work-related injuries and sick pay.

Uber UK said it will also cover auto insurance and jury duty for its workers at no additional cost.

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The compensation package will be available to all Uber and Uber Eats drivers across Europe starting June 1.

Unions have questioned, though, whether the benefits package is new. Just over a year ago, Uber offered illness and injury cover to drivers for a small cost.

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Uber's announcement comes before a June 25 appeal hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, in which a judge will decide whether London's transportation agency should renew Uber's operating license with the city.

Transport for London withdrew Uber's operating license in September on public safety and security grounds. Uber has been allowed to continue operating in London pending the outcome of its appeal.

Labor Party lawmaker Rebecca Long Bailey said a decision is overdue.

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"We hope that it is more than simply a PR move to repair their public image," she said. "Uber and companies like it must put an immediate end to exploitative practices and ensure that their workers have full access to their legal rights, such as the minimum wage."

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Uber drivers in Britain have been pushing for greater rights for more than three years. U.S. drivers are also fighting in court to be classified as benefited employees.

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