City of Seattle passes legislation that guarantees a minimum wage for delivery drivers

The Seattle City Council has unanimously passed legislation that would guarantee a minimum wage for app-based delivery drivers and gig workers, making it the first city in the nation to do so.

Currently, drivers for organizations like UberEats, Grubhub and DoorDash get paid per ride, plus tips. The legislation passed, introduced by Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis, would set a minimum wage for those drivers at $17/hour. 

"We live in an expensive city; many delivery workers earn below the minimum wage after expenses and tips are accounted for," said Herbold. "App-based work is one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy with more workers turning to this type of work. The passage of this legislation will help tens of thousands of delivery workers make ends meet while maintaining their flexibility."

The legislation, dubbed PayUp Seattle, also prevents gig companies from penalizing workers in any way based on which jobs they choose to accept and reject, or which hours they are available for work. The legislation also offers transparency protections—gig workers will have the right to up-front information about pay, tip, and other details of each job, as well as paystub information after each job is completed.

Additional ordinances in the PayUp package will follow in the months ahead, including forthcoming policies to address unwarranted deactivation, discrimination and harassment, bathroom access, and other basic protections.

Proponents of the legislation say about 40,000 people will be impacted. 

However, gig company DoorDash told FOX 13 in April that it believes the passing of PayUp would "lead to dramatically increased costs of delivery, which would reduce orders." 

RELATED: DoorDash shares data to shed light on potential impact of 'PayUp' policy on communities

The company estimates Seattle businesses could lose over $74 million collectively a year and DoorDash workers could lose over $32 million in collective earnings due to an expected drop in orders.

In a statement to FOX 13 after the passing of PayUp, DoorDash said: 

"Seattle City Council refused to hear from community members -- from restaurants to customers, to faith leaders, to communities of color -- who opposed this extreme policy that will dramatically increase costs on customers, reduce orders for merchants, and threaten earnings for Dashers. City Council also refused to study the impact of this proposal, despite widespread constituent concern. We are disappointed that City Council chose to ignore such a diverse slate of voices, but DoorDash will continue to fight for better policies across Seattle."

UberEats issued a similar statement to FOX 13:

"While we support efforts to improve earnings, the City Council’s bill will likely result in less work for couriers, fewer orders for local restaurants, and price increases for Seattlites in a time of near record inflation. Delivery apps are a critical source of fresh food for 320,000 Seattites, and a third of orders are from underserved communities - it’s these communities that will most be impacted by higher costs and less demand."

In April, Uber told FOX 13 that the cost of rider fares increased nearly 50 percent following Seattle's wage law enacted in 2021.

The company further said it believes the policy will make services more costly for eaters, and modeling is clear that this will result in a loss of thousands of orders for small businesses and higher costs for people who are already struggling with record-high prices.

PayUp now heads to the desk of Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell for signature. The minimum wage would not go into effect for another 18 months or so, according to the city. 

The city of Seattle did something similar in 2020 when it passed a minimum wage for ride-share drivers, like Lyft and Uber. 

This is a developing story.

FOX 13 has reached out to DoorDash and UberEats for updated statements on the passing of the legislation.