Instacart will expand its COVID-19 sick pay to include more gig workers as part of an agreement with the attorney general for Washington, DC. Under the agreement, the company is also launching a telemedicine pilot in the DC area to remotely diagnose shoppers who believe they may have contracted the disease, and provide childcare assistance pay to eligible workers while schools are closed.
In March, Instacart announced that employees who were quarantined or tested positive for COVID-19 would receive 14 days of sick pay, meant to encourage them to stay home rather than spreading the disease further. But getting that pay has proven difficult for shoppers who have often been blocked from the benefit either by the unavailability of tests or confusion around which agencies are authorized to recommend quarantine.
Under the new policy, anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 by their health care provider would be eligible for sick pay even if they have not received a positive test. Instacart will also allow shoppers to actively seek a diagnosis through a new telemedicine system, administered through Doctor on Demand. Instacart also pledged to provide sick pay to shoppers who live in the same residence as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, seeing them as particularly at risk of contracting the disease.
Instacart president Nilam Ganenthiran put the agreement in sunnier terms. “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our team has been singularly focused on supporting the health and safety of our shopper community,” he said in a statement. “We’re proud to partner with Attorney General Racine to expand our offerings and continue supporting our valued shopper community.”