Federal workers are being recruited on social media to work for gig economy companies like Lyft, DoorDash, and Postmates during the government shutdown, often by people who stand to get paid for referring new workers to these platforms.
On Twitter, accounts trying to get new drivers to sign up for Lyft, Uber, and Postmates used the #GovernmentShutdown hashtag to promote the driver sign-up page, with their referral links.
Instacart said on Twitter it would pass along a suggestion to recruit government employees who are out of work. (The tweet was later deleted and the company declined to comment for this story.)
Meanwhile, on LinkedIn, a self-described DoorDash “Dasher Acquisition Manager,” whose account is no longer active, sent a message to a federal employee who is furloughed, encouraging them to “Earn what you want, when you want” by signing up to drive for DoorDash. DoorDash did not respond to inquiries from BuzzFeed News.
In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Lyft said the company would “encourage those in need of extra income to consider driving with Lyft,” which is “a reliable way to make ends meet and can help these workers fill in the gap during this uncertain time.” Uber declined to comment.
On Friday, government employees affected by the shutdown missed their first paycheck since the shutdown started three weeks ago — what by Saturday will be the longest government shutdown in US history.
Companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart offer these workers the opportunity to earn money as independent contractors without having to get a new job. Government employees are allowed to take outside work during the shutdown, as long as it doesn’t violate the government ethics rules that typically apply to their employment.
Already in the Washington, DC, area — where 71% of IT workers said they’d jump ship from their current jobs to work for Amazon — government employees have reportedly been turning to Uber and Lyft. And Postmates has also seen a “significant spike” in applications for delivery roles since Dec. 20, a company spokesperson said in an email to BuzzFeed News, although they declined to provide details about the increase.