Yesterday, federal legislation was signed into law that intends to slow the spread of COVID-19 and provide assistance to millions of working families across the country who are impacted by the coronavirus.
We support this new law, which contains emergency measures and funding that directly impacts the Lyft community - our riders, our drivers, our staff and our loved ones.
As a member of the Lyft family, we want to share with you what we know about resources available to help you and your family during this challenging time. There are many moving parts and a lot that we don’t yet know. We are working as hard as we can to identify more ways to support you.
What we do know is that Lyft drivers represent an army of everyday citizens, most of whom work long hours at regular jobs -- as teachers, engineers, artists, mechanics, students -- or as caregivers, parents and grandparents. When you choose to drive with Lyft, even for just a few hours each week, you provide essential services to your community: linking people with jobs, family, health care, and other critical services. In fact, forty percent of Lyft rides start or stop in low income communities.
Many cities and regions have announced shelter-in-place orders which restrict movement and large gatherings. Despite these restrictions, travel may be allowed for essential activities such as grocery and food pickup and delivery, medical visits, and attending critical public safety jobs. In this time of uncertainty and isolation, we are heartened that our community has stepped up to ensure that seniors are able to travel to medical appointments and families are able to pick up groceries. Thank you!
Here’s what we know about resources available to the Lyft community in the initial federal aid passed by Congress and how this new law may apply to the Lyft driver community.
Most Lyft drivers use our platform as supplemental income while working as full time or part time employees elsewhere. For those of you who fall into this category, you may be eligible for an expansion of existing paid leave under this new law. The federal bill requires employers (those issuing W2s) to provide two weeks of paid leave for employees due to isolation or quarantining, obtaining a diagnosis, caring for a child due to school closings, or complying with the recommendation or order of a health care provider or public official.
Other drivers who are self-employed, own your own business, and file taxes with 1099s may be eligible to receive a refundable tax credit for days you were unable to earn income due to COVID-19 related illness, to comply with self-isolation or care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed due to coronavirus. The tax credits allow for self-employed individuals to claim a refundable credit against their total tax liability for up to $511 per day for the days they are unable to work because of COVID-19 related issues, up to 10 ten days total.
In addition to the recently-enacted federal legislation, Lyft is providing supplemental support to drivers should they be diagnosed with COVID-19 or put under individual quarantine by a public health agency. This helps support drivers financially when they can't drive, while also protecting our riders’ health. These funds will be given to affected drivers who are identified to us by public health officials or who contact our support team to self-report and provide documentation that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or put under individual quarantine by a public health agency. We will provide funds to affected drivers based on the rides they provided on the Lyft platform over the last four weeks.
We’ve distributed tens of thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies to drivers, at no cost to drivers, and we will continue to alert drivers when supplies are available in your area. If we are notified of riders or drivers testing positive for COVID-19, they will be temporarily suspended from using Lyft until they are medically cleared. In this event, we will also follow guidance from the CDC and local health officials to identify other individuals who may have been impacted.
The entire team at Lyft will remain focused on enhancing passenger, driver and public safety. We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated as things change.
We are very appreciative to have you as part of the Lyft Community. Thank you for all you do.