Ride-hailing company’s incentive for 60-hour work week highlights conversation on gig worker protections

Ride-hailing company’s incentive for 60-hour work week highlights conversation on gig worker protections
Fikri Rasyid/Unsplash

As the province undergoes consultation on employment standards for gig workers in B.C., a ride-hailing company launching on the Island is offering incentives for drivers to drive 60 hours per week.

Uride is gearing up to launch in Nanaimo on Dec. 2, and in order to attract drivers the company is offering $1,500 weekly guarantees for drivers who qualify as an “All-Star.”

When CHEK News asked how drivers qualify for the incentive program, Ravi Dhami, Uride’s regional operations manager for Western Canada, responded that All-Star drivers are those who drive 60 hours per week.

“An ‘All-Star’ driver is a driver that works 60 hours a week either on a 6 x 10 or 5 x 12 rotation. They’re guaranteed to earn a minimum of $1,500 + tips on a weekly basis,” Dhami said in an email. “In some instances, we will pro-rate a ‘guarantee’ for those who commit to 40 hours a week on select schedules.”

For drivers who qualify as part-time, Uride is offering ride-based incentives. Drivers who complete 100 trips will earn a $500 bonus, 250 trips get $250, and 500 trips get a $250 bonus.

In B.C., if employees who work more than 40 hours in a week they must be paid time-and-a-half or double-time for any overtime hours. However, these regulations do not apply to gig workers, as gig workers are considered independent contractors, which the Employment Standards Act does not apply to.

The B.C. government is currently holding consultations on how the government can improve employment standards for app-based ride-hailing and food-delivery workers.

Adam Walker, B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for the New Economy, is leading the consultations and says he is hoping to hear from gig workers on policies like Uride’s.

“I think every platform has their own model, but I think a platform that’s predicated on workers working for overtime and not getting paid, what workers traditionally would expect in our province, the extra top-ups and their wages, it’s not a business model, I think, that workers will embrace and I don’t think it’s a model that British Columbians that rely on those services would like to hear,” Walker said in an interview with CHEK News.

He says through the consultation, the province is hoping to develop a precarious work strategy to address some issues that gig workers, as well as the platforms, are facing.

“We’re working with platforms that are in our province, we’re working with workers to hear the challenges that they face,” Walker said.

“So it’s not only about wages and tips, it’s also about deactivations, it’s also about workplace safety, and so as we go through this process and learn from workers, both the challenges they face, we’ll be able to develop a strategy that addresses those issues, to keep up with the changing nature of work in our province.”

As part of the consultation, the province held roundtable discussions on Vancouver Island and the Interior region, with more sessions coming up in the Northern region and lower mainland.

The province will also launch an engagement survey that will be available on its gig worker engagement page. Once open, the survey will be available until Jan. 6 at 4 p.m.

Acccording to Statistics Canada, 1 in 10 Canadians in the workforce are gig workers in 2016, half of which are using gig work to supplement their income while the other half used gig work as their sole source of income.

“Most gig workers earned less than $5,000 a year from their gig job,” Statistics Canada said in an article about the changing nature of work in Canada. “For over one-quarter of gig workers, the vast majority of their total annual income (89%) was derived from gig work.”

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Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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