Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep much of America at home, Uber adjusted its paid sick leave policy on Friday to expand qualifying criteria while instituting caps on the amounts it pays out.

Why it matters: Gig economy workers continue to have limited work protections and benefits even as they are putting themselves at risk to ferry food, groceries, and passengers.

The details: Uber’s new policy now extends the two-week paid leave benefits to drivers with pre-existing conditions that heightened their risk of serious illness from COVID-19 (per the CDC).

  • However, it’s also now capping the maximum amount drivers can receive, even if their past average earnings would have netted them more pay under the previous policy, which was slated to expire on Thursday.
  • For example, these new caps are $459 in Los Angeles, $244 in Columbus, and $136 in Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
  • Uber will also re-evaluate applications that were rejected under the old policy.
  • The company says that as of Friday, it has paid out $4 million to U.S. drivers under its COVID-19 policies.

The big picture: Each gig economy company has devised its own approach to providing some compensation to workers during the pandemic shutdown.

  • Lyft recently updated its policy, and will pay drivers between $250 and $1,000, depending on how much they earned from the service over the prior four weeks.
  • DoorDash also provides compensation for drivers if they are diagnosed with COVID-19, asked to quarantine by a doctor or health authorities, have a pre-existing condition that puts them at higher risk, or live with someone who meets any of these criteria.
  • Instacart, the grocery delivery service, offers compensation to its shoppers — but only if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are contacted by health authorities because of a known exposure to someone who is diagnosed.
  • Postmates provides two types of compensation, one in the form of health savings credits to cover potential testing or other medical expenses, and one for drivers who are diagnosed or asked to quarantine by a doctor. The company declined to share how much it compensates in either case.

Between the lines: As the shutdown moves deeper into a second month, the companies are realizing they need to make this compensation sustainable in the longer run.

  • “Because this will mean more people are eligible than under the old policy, we’ve chosen to establish a maximum per-person payment to make this new policy more sustainable,” writes Uber.
  • The companies are also focusing their efforts on compensating workers who are still actively working for them today, leaving workers who have voluntarily decided to stay home weeks ago hanging. This group's only option now is to apply for relief through the federal stimulus package passed last month, though that’s expected to take weeks as state and federal labor departments scramble to implement the new measures.
  • Some gig workers have also faced challenges with the laborious process of local authorities tracing COVID-19 patients’ contacts, which can leave workers locked out of work while they wait to find out whether they've been exposed to the virus.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 deaths.
  3. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  4. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  5. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.

Michigan board certifies Biden's win

Poll workers count absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan on Nov. 4. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state's election results on Monday, making President-elect Joe Biden's win there official and granting him the state's 16 electoral votes.

Why it matters: Republican Party leaders had unsuccessfully appealed to delay the official certification, amid the Trump campaign's failed legal challenges in key swing states.

Biden to nominate Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary

Photo: Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to nominate former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury Secretary, four people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Yellen, 74, will bring instant economic celebrity to Biden’s team and, if confirmed, she will not only be the first female Treasury Secretary but also the first person to have held all three economic power positions in the federal government: the chair of Council of Economic Advisers, the chair of Federal Reserve and the Treasury Secretary.