On Monday, Seattle City Council voted to pass laws to help gig workers get extra money during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drivers for delivery services for grocery apps like Postmates, Instacart, and Grubhub receive $ 2.50 per order.
The bill stipulates that companies must grant their employees this additional remuneration until the end of the city’s civil emergency. Councilor Tammy Morales also added an amendment to the bill that would prohibit grocery shipping companies like Instacart from passing the new cost on to customers, although that particular provision does not appear to apply to restaurant delivery. Mayor Jenny Durkan says she intends to sign the bill this week.
When the bill was originally worked out, the additional pay was supposed to be $ 5, not $ 2.50, and would have included hail trips like Uber and Lyft. However, the scope has now narrowed. Councilor Lisa Herbold, who co-sponsored the bill, said the legislation was amended following negotiations with third-party app companies and Working Washington labor organization. And ride-hail apps have been excluded as Durkan is currently working with these companies on more permanent minimum wages.
The new rules also come just a few weeks after the city council passed a separate law mandating sick pay for independent contractors. With this new law, those who deliver groceries for apps in Seattle could accumulate one day of sick leave for every 30 working days, and the payment would be based on their average daily earnings. Gig employees can also take up to three days of paid sick leave before they are required to provide a doctor’s letter or other proof of care.
Despite the negotiated reduction from $ 5 to $ 2.50, food suppliers are still resisting both mandatory sick pay and danger pay. “Precisely because we share the goal of helping workers, we urge the mayor not to sign this unnecessary and harmful legislation that reduces earning potential and hurts restaurants at worst,” a Doordash representative said in a statement.
Councilor Andrew J. Lewis, who co-sponsored the hazard payment legislation (billed as “premium payment”) with Herbold, has pushed this argument back.
“The strong testimony from app-based grocery delivery workers showed that their needs were not being met, both in terms of payment and their ability to protect not only themselves, but their families and customers,” said Lewis in a statement. “The premium payment ensures that these gig employees receive minimum compensation, a well-deserved hazard payment and additional resources to clean their delivery vehicles.”
UPDATED June 16, 2020 12:38 pm: This article has been updated to clarify that a change to the bill prohibiting passing additional costs on to customers was specific to the delivery of groceries.