The Seattle City Council on Tuesday took the first of several planned steps to improve wages and working conditions for app-based workers, unanimously passing the “Pay Up” bill, increasing wage and mileage requirements for on-demand gig workers.
The bill, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis, requires companies to pay per-minute and per-mile rates to delivery drivers on apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub, beginning when drivers accept an order. The new requirement, which goes into effect in 2023, is designed to allow contract workers to earn the city’s $17.27 minimum wage and receive the standard mileage reimbursement set by the Internal Revenue Service.
Pay Up has been in the works for about a year, with gig workers, companies, labor advocates and council members debating the way forward. Tuesday’s bill scratches the surface of the ultimate plan.
“We know that app-based work is one of the fastest growing sectors in our economy, with more and more workers turning toward this type of work and not receiving the protections of basic labor standards,” Herbold said Tuesday. “The passage of this legislation today would help tens of thousands of delivery drivers make ends meet, while maintaining their flexibility.”
In future legislation, Herbold, Lewis and others on the council want to regulate deactivation from apps and establish discrimination protection, restroom access and other labor standards among gig workers.
In an amendment from Councilmember Tammy Morales, passed Tuesday, the council also committed to addressing by August 2023 wage standards — similar to those passed for delivery drivers in this bill — for marketplace workers, who were excluded from the bill in a recent amendment.
“This is the first in a series of measures to rightsize longstanding inequities in our economy with the introduction of gig work and app-based work,” Lewis said Tuesday.
“This legislation, by no means, is going to be the final word on this,” he added.