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Proposal aims to establish minimum wage for food deliverers

Published By | Jan 5, 2023 | Wage And Hour/Overtime

New Yorkers are used to getting just about anything delivered, from their dinner and wine to clothes and furniture. The demand for delivery workers is as high as ever. In fact, more than 60,000 people work as app-based food deliverers alone.

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) is trying to protect app-based delivery workers with its recent minimum wage proposal.

At least $23.82

The DCWP has proposed that third-party delivery workers earn at least $23.82 an hour, plus tips, by 2025. The breakdown of the guaranteed wage would be as follows:

  • Base payment of $19.86
  • $2.26 to cover workers’ expenses
  • $1.70 to make up for the lack of workers’ compensation insurance

Currently, third-party deliverers earn an estimated $11.12 per hour, plus expenses. Since these workers are typically classified as independent contractors rather than employees, companies are allowed to pay them below the minimum wage rate.

The DCWP says the $9 increase reflects a more dignified wage pay scale for workers who often face incredible on-the-job challenges, including risks to their safety and navigating unfavorable environmental factors.

Vocal critics

As appealing as the proposal might seem to anyone who works in this capacity, there are very vocal groups objecting to the change.

Representatives from third-party delivery apps like GrubHub, Relay, UberEats, and DoorDash say the proposal is misguided. One argument they raise is that the proposal does not consider the flexibility that delivery workers have in accepting or rejecting deliveries, which is a key reason that delivery workers are classified as independent contractors instead of employees.

Some argue that increasing wages will ultimately increase costs for customers or local businesses. Opponents of the change also take issue with the DCWP’s approach of structuring pay based on time spent delivering and time spent connected to the apps waiting for a trip offer rather than a flat rate per delivery.

What happens now?

This measure is still in the proposal stage, and whether the City Council adopts the legislation will depend on several factors, including a public hearing. We will continue to follow any developments on this proposed NYC rule.

When it comes to questions about fair wages for workers, there is not always a clear answer. Talking to an attorney can be crucial if a conflict arises regarding minimum wage payments or other compensation.

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