Enforcing a new Seattle law to provide gig workers with danger pay during the pandemic seems to be paying off. As announced by the Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) late last week, delivery companies DoorDash and Postmates returned more than $ 350,000 to drivers after Seattle’s Hazard Pay mandate went into effect this summer. DoorDash paid $ 111,435 to 2,998 Seattle workers while Postmates paid $ 250,515 to 2,975 workers.
In June, Seattle lawmakers passed a bill known as the “Premium Pay” bill designed to help gig workers get extra money as economic protection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drivers for delivery services for grocery apps like DoorDash, Postmates and Grubhub are said to receive USD 2.50 per order in addition to their usual payment. The bill stipulates that companies must give these workers the extra money until the city’s civil emergency ends. Penalties for violations can be up to US $ 546.07 per “victim” for a first offense, with this maximum increasing for later offenses.
In the case of DoorDash and Postmates’ recent financial reimbursement, the payments were not penalties or fines, but rather part of an agreement between OLS and the two companies after drivers from the Seattle department headed up about possible violations the new regulations had given enacted mandate.
“After receiving calls from Gig employees, OLS contacted the companies informing them that if the companies resolved bonus and rebate issues and employee interest by a certain date, OLS would not open a formal investigation “explains OLS communications manager Cynthia Santana Esser Seattle. “Both companies met the requirements, conducted an internal audit that identified various issues, and promptly paid the workers a refund and interest. We have received proof of compliance from both bodies. “
Third party companies aggressively pushed back against Seattle’s Hazard Pay Bill. The additional pay per delivery should be $ 5, not $ 2.50, and would have included hail trips like Uber and Lyft. However, the number was reduced following negotiations between city lawmakers, third-party delivery services, and the Working Washington labor organization. Ride-hail apps have been banned as Mayor Jenny Durkan is currently working with these companies on more permanent minimum wages.
In a June statement, a representative from DoorDash said the Seattle law would “reduce earning opportunities [for drivers] and restaurants hurt at worst. “At around the same time, Instacart threatened to abandon the Seattle market if the hazard bill passed (three months later, the app is still available here).
Eater Seattle reached out to both DoorDash and Postmates for comments on the recent payments and internal audit, but didn’t listen back until this article was published.