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Seattle seeks public comment on proposed changes to gig worker minimum wage law

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(The Center Square) – The Seattle Office of Labor Standards is inviting the public to comment on proposed changes to select rules regarding a gig worker minimum wage bill the city council passed in spring 2022 that is set to go into effect next year.

On May 31, 2022, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed legislation intended to ensure that delivery apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Instacart pay their workers at least minimum wage, making Seattle the first city in the nation to do so.

The law, which is set to go into effect on Jan. 13, 2024, requires delivery apps to pay drivers a per-mile fee and per-minute fee in order to get drivers a wage roughly equal to Seattle’s $17.27 an hour minimum wage.

Other provisions of the “PayUp” Seattle law include preventing gig companies from penalizing workers based on which jobs they choose to accept and reject, or which hours they are available to work. Transparency protections for workers are also built into the law in the form of direct information about pay, tips and other individual job details, as well as paystub information following the completion of each job.

In September, OLS released proposed administrative rules clarifying several details of the law and received comments from the public. Since then, OLS has made adjustments to the law on the subjects of “Engaged Time,” “Marketplace Network Company,” “Minimum Per-Offer Amount,” “Required Physical Labor” and “Material Change to How Payment Will BE Calculated.”

Those adjustments, according to OLS, warrant a second round of comments from the public.

Proponents of the PayUp law say it will benefit the Emerald City’s estimated 40,000 gig workers in terms of better pay and other benefits.

The Center Square reached out to San Francisco-based online food ordering and delivery platform DoorDash, which was previously critical of the then-proposed legislation, for comment on the proposed adjustments to the law and whether the company would once again be voicing its concerns about the law.

In April 2022, a DoorDash spokesperson told FOX 13 that the company believed passing PayUp would “lead to dramatically increased costs of delivery, which would then reduce orders.”

The company estimated at the time that Seattle businesses could lose more than $74 million collectively a year, and DoorDash workers could lose more than $32 million in collective earnings due to an expected drop in orders.

Written comments to the proposed rule changes may be mailed or delivered to: Seattle Office of Labor Standards, ATTN: Shuxuan Zhou, Policy Analyst, 810 Third Ave, Suite 375, Seattle, WA, 98104 or emailed to laborstandards@seattle.gov with the subject line: “Comments: App-Based Worker Minimum Payment Ordinance Proposed Rules.”

All comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 15.

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