The case of the delivery rider of a pizza chain in Delhi who had tested positive for COVID-19 recently has put the spotlight on the response and responsibility of e-commerce and delivery companies towards its delivery riders. In a press note, Zomato co-founder Deepinder Goyal had said they have reassured delivery partners (DP) that “they don’t need to force themselves to work for financial reasons if they get infected with COVID-19”. “Zomato’s Delivery Partner Insurance Plan, which earlier covered only hospitalisation, will now also cover lost earnings, in case the delivery partner gets infected by COVID-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, the company has announced the Zomato Rider Relief Fund as the “ongoing crisis has affected them adversely as almost 350 cities have little to no business — leading to over 1,00,000 riders with zero earnings”. It has over 250,000 delivery partners in over 500 cities. “Given the contractual nature of their work, these DPs depend on daily wages. They have little to no savings (not to forget their monthly rents, children’s education fees and other expenses),” the company wrote in a blog. It aims to raise Rs 10 crore and distribute Rs 1,000 to each delivery rider out of work.
Food delivery service Swiggy has also announced the Swiggy Hunger Savior Covid Relief Fund, to be “used towards the safety and welfare of delivery partners and their families”. Through the fund, it is “Income-Protection Insurance”, where up to 14 days of income is insured if tested positive with COVID-19”, apart from food and grocery care packages to the partners and their families. “Additionally, parents and family members of the Delivery Partner currently not covered by existing medical insurance will also be covered by the fund towards medical/hospitalisation expenses related to COVID-19,” the company said, in a statement.
Online grocer Grofers is “extending fixed payouts & medical benefits” for delivery and warehouse personnel, in case they test positive. “As a part of this initiative, we will bear medical expenses and hospitalisation fees for anyone who is affected. Additionally, as a token of appreciation for the selfless efforts by delivery and warehouse personnel, we have collaborated with Ekincare, a health benefit start-up, to provide 24*7 telemedicine services at zero cost,” a spokesperson of the company told The Indian Express. Though Grofers pays its delivery riders bi-monthly and warehouse staff monthly, but in case if any of its delivery partner gets infected, the company will provide “Rs 500 per day from the day of hospitalisation until discharged, apart from bearing medical expenses, the spokesperson added. The company has over 7,000 service partners, who work on a contractual basis. They have recently hired 2,000 people from non-essential industries, who were impacted by the current crisis, and plan to hire 5,000 more people over the next two weeks.
On reaching out to online grocer Big Basket, the spokesperson told The Indian Express that the company would not like to comment. The company was also facing a shortage of warehouse and delivery staff to service the unprecedented demand, and had stepped up its recruiting efforts for delivery executives and warehouse staff. It has also collaborated with cab aggregator Uber as a new last mile delivery service.
As part of its Corona Task Force, online pharmacy 1mg has a helpline number for their employees and delivery riders to help them navigate with various questions related to the crisis and on which they can consult doctors if they notice any symptoms. “Through this we give them real-time assistance and advise them on what to do next,” 1mg COO Tanmay Saksena told The Indian Express. Their employees are covered under two insurance schemes – Employee State Insurance Program and the other provided by the company. “In these special times, we are behind all our employees and will provide them any financial and medical assistance if they are facing hardship,” he said.
Meanwhile, e-commerce company Flipkart has also said that all its executives, “full time and contractual”, are covered with life and medical insurance. “Anyone who contracts COVID-19 or is placed under quarantine will be provided leave with pay and other benefits, this is irrespective of whether it was contracted on the job,” company spokesperson told The Indian Express.
Associates, who are working in Amazon buildings directly or through staffing agencies, are already covered for medical insurance under the Employee State Insurance Program, said the spokesperson of the e-commerce giant. “And should they be confirmed positive for COVID-19 or placed under quarantine, they will receive two weeks of pay over and above their available leave balance,” the spokesperson told The Indian Express. The company has also extended the Amazon Relief Fund in India that has been set up globally with a $25 million USD to associates part of the Delivery Service Partner Program, Amazon Flex program and trucking partners providing middle mile logistics support in the event of financial hardships. “This fund can be utilised by qualifying individuals who have been quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19,” they said