With the Covid-19 showing no signs of abating in the U.S., most companies are offering employees personal protective equipment such as masks (PPEs),media reported. However, ride-on giant Lyft sells PPE to drivers through online stores, but the results are not ideal. The Lyft store contains common PPE products: masks, hand sanitizers, etc.
The company says it won’t increase the price of the items, which means drivers can buy them at wholesale prices. For example, a bottle of sterilizing aerosol costs $5.99, while the same product costs $7.99 at CVS and $8.99 at Target.
Of course, drivers don’t expect to pay Lyft for personal protective equipment, and say the company should offer it for free, especially when the number of people using taxi service is down. Lyft requires drivers to wear masks and regularly disinfects rival sanders and car surfaces.
Lyft says it has spent $2.5 million on hundreds of thousands of personal protective items for drivers. “So far, we’ve distributed more than 150,000 disinfection products and masks to drivers for free.” A Lyft spokesman said. “Our most active drivers will now receive a free safety kit that includes a reusable cloth mask, hand sanitizer and disinfectant.”
Some drivers say Lyft distributes a woefully small amount of personal protective equipment, and after the company closed many service centers at the end of March, they have had a hard time getting free personal protective equipment — and even the rest of the centers often run out.
Zero-hours economics companies have long argued that they are not employers, and some have refused to train workers or hand out personal protective equipment in case they are used to justify themselves as employers in potential litigation. However, the situation in California is likely to change, where a lawsuit seeks to classify part-time workers as legitimate employees rather than independent contractors.