Lyft is adding a benefit offered by Chipotle and Taco Bell to give its drivers discounts on classes

  • Lyft is adding Guild Education as a benefit to its drivers in the US, the company announced Monday.
  • Drivers have access to a free education mentor, and can access online classes from a variety of universities and schools at a discounted rate.
  • It's a unique employee benefit in the gig-economy, where contract workers drive on their own time but lose out on common full-time benefits like matched retirement funds and subsidized healthcare.

Lyft is adding educational discounts and mentorship as a benefit for its contracted drivers through a partnership with Guild Education. The benefits, announced Monday, will roll out nationwide this week. 

Gabe Cohen, general manager of the Rocky Mountain region for Lyft, said that the company added the benefit after discovering that most of its drivers use Lyft as a way to earn money while pursuing other interests.

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The company said that over 93 percent of its drivers work fewer than 20 hours a week, and that 92 percent are otherwise employed, looking for work, full-time students, or retirees.

Through Guild Education, drivers will have access to a personal education mentor, paid for by Lyft, as well as discounted tuition on online classes offered from a variety of schools and universities — ranging from master's degrees to vocational courses. Discounts range from 5% to 20%, depending on the class.

Guild Education also works with large companies like Chipotle and Taco Bell to provide similar benefits to part-time employees.

Cohen said he expects English-as-a-second language courses to be popular, though he knows of drivers interested in doing everything from finishing up an associates degree to pursuing a career as a geneticist. 

As contract workers, Lyft drivers don't qualify for the company-funded health benefits and 401k matching that most companies offer their full-time employees, though Lyft directs drivers to gig-economy benefit providers like Honest Dollar and eHealthMarketplace.

This is similar to Lyft's competitor Uber, which gives drivers healthcare recommendations and encourages retirement accounts through the investment company Betterment, but doesn't offer drivers its full-time employee benefits.

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