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Uber said it spent $ 19 million on assistance for drivers struggling globally amid a coronavirus pandemic

Uber Technologies on Thursday for the first time detailed how much had been spent to support hail drivers and food delivery workers during the coronavirus crisis, which had hit the company and forced it to lay off thousands of employees.

The company said in a blog post here that it had spent $ 19 million in mid-May in two weeks of direct financial assistance to a total of nearly 48,900 drivers worldwide who were infected by viruses or ordered to quarantine.

Half of that amount is paid to 12,350 drivers and shipping workers in the US and Canada, Uber’s largest market and where, it has around 1.3 million drivers.

Under the program announced in mid-March, North American drivers receive an average of nearly $ 650, but the amount of payment varies greatly by location, with Uber limiting maximum payments per city and calculating support based on previous income.

Uber did not provide payment details in other countries, but a spokesman said financial assistance had been provided in all of the more than 70 countries where it operates.

The spokesman said the demand for drivers for support also varied depending on the social safety nets in each country.

Ride-hail drivers in online forums have complained about the approval process which is difficult to receive financial support. In the US, many drivers also struggle to receive unemployment benefits, usually provided for employees.

Uber stressed that the driver was an independent contractor, but in March he urged the US president to include economic gig workers in federal coronavirus aid laws so that drivers could receive unemployment benefits.

Uber previously said it had allocated $ 50 million to supply drivers with masks and disinfectants and bought around 28 million masks. Nearly half a million drivers and dispatchers have received safety supplies to date, the company said.

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