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Grab to give drivers free prolonged medical leave insurance for injuries or illnesses on top of existing healthcare benefits

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On Wednesday, January 16, ride-hailing giant Grab made a big announcement: on top of existing comprehensive healthcare benefits – both medical and dental – that Grab drivers are already entitled to, Grab will be giving its drivers free insurance coverage that automatically protects them from loss of earnings because of prolonged periods of illness or injury.

Grab has made the well-being of their driver-partners their priority. These driver-partners are on the road for hours and hours daily, and Grab wants to make sure they are in good health.

“We are always looking to offer more comprehensive support and benefits for our Grab driver-partners and this Prolonged Medical Leave Insurance is one of many ways,”  a Grab spokesperson told The Independent. 

While driver-partners are considered to be “self-employed individuals and dictate their own working schedules”, Grab still has its “ears on the ground”, which has led to the understanding that “protecting driver earnings are a key concern for driver-partners when it comes to prolonged periods of illness”. 

How will the new Prolonged Medical Leave Insurance work? When will it take effect and for how long? A Grab spokesperson answered our queries:

“At Grab, our Prolonged Medical Leave insurance, underwritten by Chubb, covers our driver-partners from the sixth day onwards of medical leave for a period of 14 days and from the second day onwards for hospitalisation leave for a maximum of 60 days.”

The spokesperson also noted that the coverage will be applicable for all conditions diagnosed after January 16, 2019, including diagnoses on mental health illnesses or disorders.

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Under the new Prolonged Medical Leave insurance, drivers in the top three tiers of the firm’s rewards programme are guaranteed a daily payout that is tied to a percentage of their average daily earnings.

This payout can be anywhere between S$30 and S$200 a day, depending on the tier of the driver.

Grab has four tiers under its rewards programme, and different factors contribute to which tier each driver will be segregated into. Factors such as passenger ratings and the number of hours clocked in for work will affect the driver’s performance.

While the new insurance plan does not apply to drivers in the bottom tier, Grab is still working on an insurance coverage plan which will cover them as well.

Prior to this announcement and new coverage, the Grab spokesperson said that driver-partners were already enjoying comprehensive healthcare benefits through the Emerald Circle programme, which are outlined below:

  • Personal Accident Insurance – compensates the driver for bodily injuries arising from accidents while on the job
  • Medical and dental services at all Raffles Medical and Dental (GP) clinics in Singapore
  • 10% off all basic dental services at Unity Denticare
  • Subsidised healthcare on a wide range of healthcare services with SATA CommHealth

The new plan’s goals coincide with recommendations by the Tripartite Workgroup on Self-Employed Persons, which had studied the needs of the growing number of freelancers in Singapore, namely basic medical benefits and insurance protection that salaried employees are usually entitled to.

Ultimately, the concern is that self-employed professionals will struggle to pay for sudden or important medical events or put away enough savings for an easy retirement.

In February 2018, the workgroup suggested that firms provide insurance products specifically tailored for freelancers that would provide a daily cash benefit for periods of hospitalisation exceeding one to three days, or prolonged medical leave exceeding seven to 14 days.

Grab told The Independent that in 2018, they partnered-up with the Health Promotion Board to provide free health screenings and regular health coaching sessions to their driver driver-partners, and said that they “will continue to look at more ways to elevate health and occupational safety standards in Singapore”.

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