WA Uber, Lyft drivers getting paid family, medical leave benefits

Apr 12, 2023, 9:45 AM | Updated: 9:52 am


Uber and Lyft drivers will now get benefits as a new bill awaits the governor's signature. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Uber and Lyft drivers in Washington state will be the first in the United States to get Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits.

“Today is a landmark in the fight for worker rights nationwide,” said Peter Kuel, Drivers Union President, in a news release. “Washington Uber and Lyft drivers are the first in the nation to win the right to Paid Family and Medical Leave and now have their right to unemployment benefits – a lifeline at the height of the Covid pandemic – enshrined in state law. In the State of Washington, drivers must no longer choose between caring for unwell loved ones and putting food on the table.”

HB 1570 has now passed in both chambers and is headed to the governor.

Ross: Legislature finally compromises on police pursuit bill

Uber and Lyft drivers will now get the same benefits as other workers in the state.

An Uber driver from Fircrest said Paid Family and Medical Leave would have provided the coverage his family needed when disaster struck.

“One day, while I still had no work due to the pandemic, I felt a pain in my chest,” said Bill Horton. “Without emergency heart surgery, I could have died.

“I recovered from that surgery, but I learned that because I was no longer able to work, my ongoing unemployment benefits would be denied. With Paid Family Medical Leave, drivers like me will no longer have to face the terrible choice between aggravating a dangerous health condition and providing for their family.”

In addition to the change in benefits, the cost of a driver’s premiums for Paid Family and Medical Leave will be fully paid by Uber and Lyft. Paid Family and Medical Leave access will come online for drivers in July 2024.

Washington has more than 30,000 Uber and Lyft drivers.

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WA Uber, Lyft drivers getting paid family, medical leave benefits