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Seattle City Council Passes Hazard Pay Fees for Third-Party Delivery Drivers During Pandemic

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A hazard pay bill for app-based meal and grocery third party delivery drivers during the pandemic has passed the Seattle City Council. Food delivery network companies who hire gig workers or third-party delivery drivers for food service deliveries must pay drivers at least $2.50 in premium pay per order during the coronavirus crisis.

The bill requires companies to give their employees this extra pay until the end of the city’s civil emergency. Some app companies have opposed the move. At question is whether the companies will pass the added costs along to customers.
Council member Tammy Morales added an amendment to prohibit grocery delivery companies from passing the new cost onto customers, although that particular provision doesn’t appear to apply to restaurant delivery. One company launched a campaign to ask customers to lobby the council on its behalf. The Mayor is expected to sign the legislation.

One council member said the premium-pay change was negotiated between Working Washington and the app companies and was meant to strike a balance.

The move follows an announcement that the Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) will extend the city’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) ordinance to cover gig workers during the Coronavirus crisis. That temporary law will take effect July 13 to allows certain gig workers access to paid sick and paid safe time (PSST) from food delivery network companies that arrange for delivery of groceries or prepared food using an app-based or online platform. The law also applies to transportation companies such as Uber and Lyft.

Under the new law, workers who deliver food for apps in Seattle would be eligible to accrue one sick day for every 30 days worked and the payment would be based on their average daily income. Gig workers or third-party delivery drivers will also be able use up to three days of paid sick time before being required to produce a doctor’s note or other proof of care.