April 04, 2020

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For Britain's Gig Economy Workers, Coronavirus Means Tough Choices - The New York Times

LONDON — Melissa Preston has a choice: go to work for the money to pay her rent or stay at home to keep her family safe from the coronavirus outbreak.

Before the pandemic, Preston earned around 250 pounds ($290) a week as a cleaner. Now she is worried about putting herself and her family at risk by going in and out of other people's homes.

Like some 5 million Britons, she is self-employed, so does not get sick pay. Government benefits alone would not be enough to pay the 800 pounds monthly rent for her house in Northampton, central England, where she lives with her two daughters.

"It's a choice between: do I go and put myself at risk and then bring that in to my children? ... Or do I just, you know, bite the bullet?" Preston, who is 42, told Reuters.

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