A New York judge has ruled in favor of implementing a minimum pay rate of $18 per hour for food delivery workers in New York City. This decision is a blow to major delivery apps such as Uber, DoorDash, and Grubhub, which had previously sued the city to block the standard from being implemented. The minimum pay rate will gradually increase to $19.96 per hour by 2024 to account for inflation. Delivery workers, who are considered independent contractors, do not currently benefit from employee protections like minimum wage guarantees or paid sick leave.
The delivery apps argued that a higher wage mandate would ultimately harm consumers by leading to price hikes and would also negatively impact delivery workers by forcing companies to track time spent on the apps without making deliveries. However, the judge’s ruling supports the advocacy efforts for a minimum wage, stating that “multi-billion dollar companies cannot profit off the backs of immigrant workers while paying them pennies.” Ligia Guallpa, the director of the Workers Justice Project, emphasized that this decision is a reminder that workers will always win.
Relay, a smaller NYC-based delivery platform, also sued the city and was granted an injunction. Relay’s couriers have average earnings of more than $30 per hour, and the company’s lawyer expressed gratitude for the ruling, highlighting that it protects their couriers and allows them to continue providing high earnings for delivery workers. NYC’s mandate offers two minimum pay rate options for companies using delivery workers, either a minimum hourly rate excluding tips or a rate based on active time. The specifics of which method the major apps will follow have not been specified, but paying per active minute is already a common practice in many locations for these companies.
In summary, a New York judge’s ruling allows for the implementation of a minimum pay rate of $18 per hour for food delivery workers in NYC, benefitting the city’s 65,000 delivery workers. This decision goes against the attempts made by major delivery apps to block the standard. The ruling supports the advocacy for fair wages for workers and emphasizes that companies should not profit at the expense of immigrant workers. However, the delivery apps argued that this mandate would harm consumers and the workers themselves. It remains to be seen which pay rate option the companies will follow, but paying per active minute is already a common practice for these companies in many locations.