Seattle considers mandating hazard pay for gig workers during the pandemic

Seattle considers mandating hazard pay for gig workers during the pandemic

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Monica Nickelsburg
2020-05-22 17:48:13

(Bigstock Photograph)

The Seattle Metropolis Council is considering new emergency legislation that may require firms like Uber and Grubhub to pay drivers $5 for every supply or trip they supply, on prime of their common charges. The hazard pay is meant to offset prices and dangers that drivers are coping with in the course of the pandemic, like buying protecting gear and cleansing automobiles between journeys.

The hazard pay would apply to gig staff who present companies in Seattle for meals supply, grocery supply, and ride-sharing firms with greater than 250 staff worldwide.

Council members Andrew Lewis and Lisa Herbold launched the laws on Friday. If adopted, it might take impact instantly and stay in place till Seattle is not in a state of emergency.

“We’re in a disaster,” Lewis stated in an interview with GeekWire. “Nobody projected that COVID was going to come back alongside and no person might predict the devastating impression that it has needed to these app-based drivers who’re getting hit when different important staff are getting sure concerns.”

Uber declined to touch upon the laws however expressed issues in regards to the impression greater charges could have on clients and drivers.

“The Council’s actions to move an unprecedented tax enhance severely harms important staff and low-income group members who can’t afford personal automobiles and are being instructed to keep away from public transit in the course of the pandemic,” a Lyft spokesperson stated. “For 1000’s of nurses and healthcare aids, janitors, and meals service staff, rideshare has develop into their solely efficient various for journey, and the Council’s transfer in the course of a pandemic to extend fares by 50% in some circumstances would instantly come out of their pockets.”

The ordinance is designed to supply short-term aid for Seattle gig staff however it is going to be nullified when Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Fare Share laws is adopted. Durkan launched her plan to determine a minimal wage for Uber and Lyft drivers final yr and the Seattle Metropolis Council unanimously passed it in November. The proposal is presently awaiting the outcomes of a research to find out the right way to set up a minimal hourly charge for app-based drivers. These outcomes are anticipated in July.

“These staff which might be going through these struggles can not wait months to get aid,” Lewis stated.

Final month, Seattle capped the fees that services like UberEats charge eating places at 15% in an effort to mitigate the monetary hardship that the meals business is enduring beneath Washington state’s shutdown order. The price cap will stay in place till eating places are allowed to re-open. The emergency order additionally requires 100% of tricks to go to supply drivers. The brand new laws is designed to broaden aid for the drivers who present meals supply and transportation companies.

The laws is a win for Working Washington, a bunch that advocates on behalf of gig staff.

“We’d like hazard pay, and we have to know we’re capable of go to the physician, we have to know we now have one thing within the financial institution,” stated James Thomas, a driver for a wide range of meals supply companies who’s related to Working Washington. “However as an alternative of hazard pay, the businesses began decreasing the pay by hiring so many individuals. It simply isn’t definitely worth the danger of getting sick for a $2 supply.”

Gig economic system firms and staff have been hit laborious by the pandemic. Journey-share drivers, canine walkers, and different on-demand staff noticed their incomes dry up in a single day. The image is grim for the businesses behind these companies too. Uber has laid off more than 6,000 employees previously few weeks whereas Lyft reduced its staff by 17%.

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