By Claudia Irizarry Aponte, The City
This article was originally published on by THE CITY
New York City’s app-based food delivery workers should be paid at least $23.82 an hour plus tips by 2025, an amount that takes into account their costs of operating, the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection proposed via public notice Wednesday morning.
The highly anticipated pay scale is mandated by a 2021 local law that requires a minimum wage for workers using apps such as DoorDash and Uber Eats. As proposed, the pay minimum would start $17.87 on Jan. 1, 2023, and increase to $23.82 by April 1, 2025.
Because app-based delivery workers, currently estimated to number 60,000, are classified as independent contractors and not employees, these workers are not currently entitled to a minimum wage. They also do not get reimbursed for expenses, such as purchasing insulated delivery bags.
Once the full $23.82 hourly rate is implemented, it will include a $19.86 base rate – matching existing minimum pay standards for the city’s ride-hail drivers – and $2.26 to cover expenses such as safety equipment, and $1.70 to reflect the absence of workers’ compensation insurance. The city estimates that delivery workers currently earn $11.12 an hour including tips after expenses, according to a draft copy of the pay study obtained by THE CITY.
The proposed rate would ultimately put $9 an hour in delivery workers’ pockets over what they typically earn now. New York joins Seattle, which set a minimum wage earlier this year, to go into effect at the same time as New York’s.
The new pay scale is subject to challenge in court by several of the most powerful delivery platforms. Last year, Grubhub, UberEats and Doordash sued the city over a new law that caps the amount of commissions fees that apps can charge restaurants on their platforms.
The proposal will be the subject of public hearing scheduled for Dec. 16.
“Delivery workers have delivered for New York time and again, including during the COVID-19 pandemic — now it’s time for New York to deliver for them,” said Mayor Eric Adams in a statement. “This new proposed minimum pay rate would help ensure a fairer pay for delivery workers for third-party apps, providing more stability for 60,000 workers across our city. We look forward to hearing public comment on the new proposed rules as we prepare to implement the law.”
‘More Dignified Pay’
As the Council prepared to vote on the pay law in September 2021, its sponsor, then-Councilmember and now City Comptroller Brad Lander, thanked delivery workers, labor organizers and THE CITY for bringing their plight to public attention. The proposed pay scale followed a study of worker pay and conditions that the Council also required when it passed the law.
“Through pouring rain and a pandemic, deliveristas brought food and other vital items right to New Yorkers’ front doors while relying on the algorithms of apps that churn out little pay and meager tips. That era is waning as the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection gears up to implement minimum pay regulations, and my team and I are currently reviewing the draft rules and proposed rates,” Lander said in a statement on Wednesday.
The report draws from data obtained via administrative subpoenas to four of the largest delivery platforms — DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, and Relay — as well as field surveys of more than 400 delivery workers in collaboration with researchers at Columbia University. DCWP also held a public hearing and referenced publicly available data.
The department determined that those four major platforms are collectively responsible for 99% of app deliveries in the city.
Several of the major platforms denounced the proposed rule in the hours after it was announced.
“Dashing allows so many across New York City to earn when, where, and how often they choose. Unfortunately, the proposed rule does not appropriately account for this flexibility or that Dashers are able to choose which deliveries they accept or reject,” said Doordash spokesperson Eli Scheinholtz. “Failing to address this could significantly increase the costs of delivery, reducing orders for local businesses and harming the very delivery workers it intends to support.”
Said Uber spokesperson Freddi Goldstein: “The day after repealing a rule that was universally hated by TLC drivers, the city is proposing a nearly identical one for delivery workers that would force apps to block couriers from working when and where they want.” She was referencing 2019 regulations workers represented by the Independent Drivers Guild, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists partially funded by Uber that represents 80,000 New York City ride-hailing drivers, claimed resulted in them getting paid less.
Representatives for Grubhub and Relay did not respond to a request for comment.
The agency determined that workers should be paid based on trip time — time spent delivering — as well as time spent connected to the app waiting for a trip offer, instead of receiving payments per delivery.
“This proposed minimum pay rate would help guarantee delivery workers a more dignified pay and rightfully establish pay equity with other workers who earn a minimum wage,” DCWP commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga said in a statement.
It also confirmed several findings from an Aug. 2021 study by the Cornell Institute of Labor Relations and Los Deliveristas Unidos that determined that delivery work is the main or only job for most workers, particularly among those toiling on e-bikes.
The proposal falls short of the $30 an hour that labor group Los Deliveristas Unidos rallied for last month.
Speaking at the Oct. 27 rally at City Hall, Ana Fernández, a delivery worker for UberEats, Doordash and Relay said she’s brought home as little as $45 of take-home pay after a full 10-hour day traversing the city via moped.
“We have hope someone will do right by us,” the 44-year-old mother of five said in Spanish. “These conditions cannot continue.”
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Good. These are some of the hardest-working people in the city.
I’m glad the delivery people are going to be paid better. I don’t mind paying higher price . I feel bad for them – hard, dangerous, ungrateful job.
I feel for them too but a potentially $15 tuna salad sandwich and a $25 hamburger at a diner makes me feel for me too.
You can always pick it up at the restaurant.
In related news, the large plain pie you ordered for delivery cost $42.
Could the increase be dependent on them not speeding down sidewalks on their bikes? It’s getting crazy just trying to walk on the sidewalk particularly in the evening.
I fully support a living wage for these hard-working men and women. HOWEVER, they pose a safety hazard and more must be done to license their motorized vehicles. Rarely do they obey traffic lights, endangering pedestrians. Most don’t even have headlights for night.
Wake up people. There have been several deaths. One is too many. It is a problem that can be solved.
Yet another reason to make all the food I consume, if I needed one; I just raised my own rent $268.60. every month & me on a fixed income.
Did a family thing last week at a diner: ham & eggs $25 approx. Luckily I seldom do that.
With taxes and employee pay heading moonward at this astronomical clip, I pity the poor proprietors trying to keep body & soul together & keep a smile on all along.
Good luck to all.
It is very expensive to eat out in this city. Menu prices have gone thru the roof as the cost of rent, food and labor have sharply increased.
The restaurant industry is tough even in the best of times and many restaurants today are closing or barely staying alive.
Increasing the wages of these delivery people will increase restaurant expenses and ultimately be passed onto the consumer.
This wage increase will harm both consumers and the restaurant industry. This is another example of progressive policies harming the city.
I have no problem with instituting a fair and living wage to these hard working people. But I am disturbed that this would be accompanied by a new rule, namely “,The agency determined that workers should be paid based on trip time — time spent delivering — as well as time spent connected to the app waiting for a trip offer, instead of receiving payments per delivery.” A trip time base would encourage workers on bikes, e-bikes and motorcycles to move as fast as they can, against traffic, on sidewalks and through red lights, even more so than they do now. Pedestrians are forced to take their lives in their own hands when trying to walk through the neighborhood and dodging these delivery people. I would accept this new rule only if it were accompanied by requirements that delivery people are licensed, with a clear view of their bike-mounted license from a traffic camera and that the restaurants involved would be responsible for paying for all traffic violations.
I think it would be the opposite. If they were paid based on trip time, they would make more per delivery by going more slowly. A delivery taking 15 minutes would pay them almost $6 but if the same delivery took them 30 minutes, they would be paid almost $12. It is the per delivery method that encourages cutting corners since the more deliveries they make, the more money they get.
Josh, But they go faster, they will be able to make more trips per day, with less eating time between trips and with more customers visited, more opportunity for tips.
Their pay should be tied to how well they obey traffic laws on their electric bikes. Why do we keep giving these people more money as they continue to place people’s lives (including their own) in jeopardy by their dangerous behaviors?
How would even document and enforce such a ridiculous approach? We pay people according to their abilities and/or work performed. That has nothing to do with their behavior. Their earnings are not ill-gotten gains.
Maybe now they’ll slow down–run out the clock–and not risk killing innocent pedestrians by speeding on their (powerful) electric bikes, driving the wrong way, and ignoring traffic lights. They are a major factor in the decline of life in NYC for those of us who don’t sit at home in our pajamas ordering pizza.
How much do they pay for liability insurance premiums?
They should not be entitled to increased pay unless they’re covered by liability or umbrella insurance.
How are these figures accurate? This makes zero sense. Walk around the city, plenty of unskilled jobs paying $20 per hour, so why would someone take a deliver job for $12 or $4.50 an hour as alleged?
And if the City cited those who flagrantly break the laws while driving throttle e-bikes, they’d make less than nothing at that rate.
This is fair and reasonable. And now that these workers will no longer need to travel at breakneck speeds, ride on sidewalks or go the wrong way on one-way streets to earn a living wage, can we expect that the NYPD will be enforcing traffic regulations when these delivery workers break the law?
Any person who operates a moped or motorized bicycle in NYC should be required to have an operators license, predicated on passing a test on applicable rules of the road. Any business that owns mopeds or motorized bicycles used for deliveries in NYC should be required to have liability insurance and be issued plates to be affixed front and rear of that vehicle.
Pretty much is already the law for any vehicle that does not have pedals, which most delivery mopeds don’t.
Most delivery “bikes” are throttle e-bikes which assuredly have pedals. They’re e-mopeds.
There’s an increasing use by delivery guys of unlicensed utterly illegal gasoline powered scooters. But those could just be seized.
You do realize that the restaurants that are tied to the food delivery jobs will be forced to pay more too, right? So a city can dictate how much people are paid without making sure the restaurants can pay the increase?
How is that fair to the hard working owners who have put in their life savings to have a business in their neighborhood? The city just dictates a number and those who can’t pay it have to fold up and lose all their money?
What world do we live in? Everyone thinks “oh a business can pay for it!” NO! Every small business, whether a restaurant or storefront is suffering for over the last 3 years and the city and state government just wave their magic wand and say “pay it or else!”.
It is no longer a democracy, it is now a dictatorship.
Oh please calm down. Enforcing a living wage isn’t a dictatorship. It’s good governance. When poor people are less poor, they cost taxpayers less.
It’s about $3,800/month – where are they living??? Really, still not a proper living wage.
$3,800/month is most certainly a living wage. No one is entitled to live in a luxury apartment in Manhattan.
I rarely order in anymore – price increases through the roof plus fees from these platforms which will go up again now sees a bill of 40 plus for a main course an appetizer