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Postmates To Pay Close to a Million to Gig Workers in Seattle

In July 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Seattle implemented a new ordinance entitled “Gig Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time” (PSST) policy. Limited to the “Covid-19 emergency,” the ordinance provides some paid sick leave for gig workers. It allows certain gig workers to earn sick time and paid safe time while working for Uber, Lyft, and the food delivery companies. Workers earn one day of PSST for every 30 calendar days worked in Seattle. That earned time may be used to care for their own or their family members’ physical and mental health, or to care for themselves or a family member for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or for when a family member’s school or place of care is closed, or if the company reduces operations for health or safety-related reasons.

Last fall, the city started investigating Postmates after receiving complaints that the company failed to pay drivers for sick time off. Uber, which now owns Postmates, had separately agreed to pay the city $3.4 million just a couple of months ago because drivers said Uber did not compensate them for their unused sick days under the same law. The $972,075 Postmates settlement includes back wages and damages to 1,646 Postmates gig workers in Seattle, Washington. Each driver will receive $278 as Postmates’s civil penalty plus additional amounts based on work they performed since the law went into effect. The Seattle Times reported that Postmates owes some drivers around $4,000.

Postmates denies any wrongdoing. An Uber spokesperson issued a news release expressing satisfaction with the correction of these outstanding issues. The company stated, “We’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that workers on the Postmates’ platform got the paid sick and safe time to which they were entitled.”