NYC food-delivery app workers now entitled to know tip amounts

After a two-year battle, new changes that seek to create basic rights for delivery workers went into effect on Monday.

App-based food-delivery workers are now entitled to know what the customer has tipped for each delivery and will be allowed to access most restaurant bathrooms. 

Josh, who bikes around 250 miles per week delivering meals, says fighting for these basic rights has been a challenge especially during the height of the pandemic when these workers played a crucial role.

"Everyone has had the ability to hit a button on their phone and have food delivered to them," Josh said. "But sometimes they forget that there's a human behind that on the other end of the system. We are the invisible workforce that powers the city."

Food-delivery apps — such as GrubHub and DoorDash — must also now have a license from the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection in order to operate in the five boroughs. Commissioner Peter Hatch said more than a dozen app companies have applied for licenses so far.

"New York City is first in the nation to lead in this way of regulating the third-party food-delivery apps and raising the floor of labor standards for this growing sector of workers more than 65,000," Hatch said.

This new law is just the first to be rolled out this year, with more protections coming down the pipeline in the coming months.

The Worker's Justice Project has helped organize the more than 65,000 delivery workers across the city. The group said customers can also help enforce these new changes by telling the person who delivers their food how much they tipped. 

"Now that the apps are forced to disclose the full tip amount, delivery workers will be able to verify that their tips were actually paid into their accounts," WJP Executive Director Ligia Guallpa said.

More changes are still to come. In April, food-delivery apps will be required to pay for those insulated bags workers use to deliver meals. And starting next year, these workers will also be able to start making a minimum wage on top of their tips.