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Seattle Acts First To Set Minimum Wage for Gig Delivery Drivers

Referred to as "PayUp," Seattle passed new legislation intended to raise wages for on-demand food delivery, pet sitting, and grocery shopping. The councilmember sponsors assert that app-based workers are "underpaid." Moreover, "sometimes, after expenses such as mileage, vehicle maintenance, and other business expenses," these workers may be losing money on the job. They also note the "unprecedented growth and billions in revenue" earned by companies such as DoorDash, UberEats, and Instacart. They estimate Seattle has about 40,000 people performing these gig worker positions.

By a unanimous vote on the nine-member city council, gig workers will soon receive the equivalent of Seattle's minimum wage of $17.27 an hour. Workers will also have the ability to reject shifts and job offers without penalty. In addition, the app-based platforms will have to provide detailed breakdowns of worker pay, tips, and the details of each job. This ordinance is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

Delivery companies lobbied against the legislation, which the mayor said he will sign. A DoorDash spokesperson called the new policy "extreme," warning about higher costs for consumers and less work for delivery workers. Uber issued a similar statement, noting it supports efforts to improve earnings, but the law could result in "less work for couriers, fewer orders for local restaurants, and price increases." The law goes into effect in 18 months. The city council says it will soon consider similar protections for gig workers providing services to TaskRabbit and Rover as the new law does not protect them.