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New York City mandates $18 minimum wage for food delivery workers

Food delivery drivers face low tips
Food delivery drivers see low tips after pandemic peak 08:09

Starting in July, food delivery workers in New York City will make nearly $18 an hour, as New York becomes the nation's first city to mandate a minimum wage for the app-based restaurant employees. 

Delivery apps would be required to pay their workers a minimum of $17.96 per hour plus tips by July 12, rising to $19.96 per hour by 2025. After that, the pay will be indexed to inflation. 

It's a significant increase from delivery workers' current pay of about $12 an hour, as calculated by the city's Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP).

"Today marks a historic moment in our city's history. New York City's more than 60,000 app delivery workers, who are essential to our city, will soon be guaranteed a minimum pay," Ligia Guallpa, executive director of the Workers' Justice Project, said at a press conference announcing the change.

How exactly apps decide to base their workers' wages is up to them, as long as they reach the minimum pay.

"Apps have the option to pay delivery workers per trip, per hour worked, or develop their own formulas, as long as their workers make the minimum pay rate of $19.96, on average," the mayor's office said, explaining the new rules. 

Food delivery drivers see low tips after pandemic peak 08:09

Apps that only pay per trip must pay approximately 50 cents per minute of trip time; apps that pay delivery workers for the entire time they're logged in, including when they are waiting for an order, must pay approximately 30 cents per minute.

New York City's minimum wage is $15. The new law sets app workers' pay higher to account for the fact that apps classify delivery workers as independent contractors, who pay higher taxes than regular employees and have other work-related expenses. 

The law represents a compromise between worker advocates, who had suggested a minimum of about $24 per hour, and delivery companies, which had pushed to exclude canceled trips from pay and create a lower calculation for time spent on the apps.

Backlash from food apps

Apps pushed back against the minimum pay law, with Grubhub saying it was "disappointed in the DCWP's final rule, which will have serious adverse consequences for delivery workers in New York City." 

"The city isn't being honest with delivery workers — they want apps to fund the new wage by quote — 'increasing efficiency.' They are telling apps: eliminate jobs, discourage tipping, force couriers to go faster and accept more trips — that's how you'll pay for this," Uber spokesperson Josh Gold told CBS News. 

DoorDash called the new pay rule "deeply misguided" and said it was considering legal action. 

"Given the broken process that resulted in such an extreme final minimum pay rule, we will continue to explore all paths forward — including litigation — to ensure we continue to best support Dashers and protect the flexibility that so many delivery workers like them depend on," the company said.

In 2019, New York set minimum pay laws for Uber and Lyft drivers

Seattle's city council last year passed legislation requiring app workers to be paid at least the city's minimum wage.

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