Increased customer demand pushes growth in flexible work as a lifeline for Californians in need of income amid record unemployment

Sacramento, CA – The number of new independent drivers earning income on delivery apps surged 43 percent in the months since California’s stay-at-home restrictions went into effect.

Data from delivery companies Postmates, Uber Eats, Instacart and DoorDash found that 99,193 more Californians found work with these platforms between February and May.

With the state’s unemployment at 15.5 percent and nearly 4 million Californians out of work in mid-April, the app-based delivery industry is running counter to the current economic trend by providing economic opportunities for people laid off due to the coronavirus or in need of extra income. Drivers are able to download an app and immediately earn income, demonstrating that these unique platforms can continue to help Californian’s make ends meet during the recession.

“I am a full time student who has a part time job at the mall. During quarantine I am unable to continue to my work at my part time job, so I started DoorDashing. I started DoorDashing because I am not receiving unemployment during quarantine and I was in desperate need of money. Working for DoorDash has been a wonderful experience for me because it has helped to relieve financial strain during these stressful times. I have also found joy in being able to go out and deliver food to families who are understandably afraid to go out and get the food themselves.”

Arlana B., Galt

“I have been an Instacart shopper since the COVID breakout started in California. I rely on this job to support my family through this crisis. Without it, I may not be able to pay my rent or feed my family. … When the crisis passes, which looks like a long time from now, I plan on keeping this position and working two jobs.”

Scott M., Carmel Valley

“I started driving for DoorDash/Postmates when the quarantine started. As a single parent to two young children, staying at home, and living with no income was not an option. This has provided us great revenue in these trying times and it makes me feel good knowing I can help other people who are staying at home to protect their families. This is a part of our life now. Our rights absolutely need to be protected. Without this, I believe others like myself would have nothing.”

Elizabeth C., Bakersfield

“During this COVID-19 pandemic I have delivered food and grocery to front line workers. Making many trips to hospital ER and nursing home facilities. I am proud to service my community in this way. And being over 50 I have found it difficult to secure full time employment and most of my work history involved driving and delivering goods and/or services so this job was an easy fit.”

Doug U., Hemet

Politicians Putting App-Based Work at Risk

Unfortunately, politicians are trying to take this flexible work away from all Californians by forcing drivers to become employees, even though 71 percent of drivers want to remain independent. A new report found that forcing app-based delivery and rideshare drivers to become employees would result in eliminating 900,000 jobs, reducing the number of drivers needed in California by 80 to 90 percent at the worst possible time.

The Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act, supported by a diverse coalition plus nearly 65,000 drivers and others, would protect this critical work and ensure driver flexibility while providing new earning guarantees and benefits. These include:

  • New minimum earning and benefit guarantees, including:
  • A guaranteed earning of at least an amount equal to 120 percent of minimum wage plus 30 cents per mile compensation toward expenses;
  • A new health care contribution;
  • Occupational accident insurance to protect against injuries and illnesses on the job.
  • New, enhanced customer and public safety protections, including:
    • Recurring background checks of drivers
    • Mandatory safety training of drivers
    • Zero tolerance for alcohol and drug offenses
    • A cap on driver hours per day to prevent sleepy driving


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