Seattle law forces Uber to pay drivers a minimum hourly wage

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Seattle based its pay standard on a similar law passed in New York in 2018. California has taken measures further, requiring Uber and Lyft to classify drivers as employees, ensuring they’ll get benefits and make a living wage. All the measures are aimed at companies that have created armies of contract workers without the rights of regular employees.

Ride-sharing firms have vigorously opposed such laws, claiming they put drivers out of work and increase rates for customers. “The city’s plan is deeply flawed and will actually destroy jobs for thousands of people — as many as 4,000 drivers on Lyft alone — and drive ride-share companies out of Seattle,” a Lyft spokesperson told the NYT.

On top of the increased rates, the Seattle law requires Uber and Lyft to hand all tips over to drivers and to not count tips toward the minimum wage. They must also reimburse drivers for the costs of masks and other protective equipment.

The city may extend the minimum wage rules to other gig workers, as well. “I hope in the future we can work on similar legislation for other drivers … such as delivery drivers of packages as well as delivery drivers of meals and food,” said council member Lisa Herbold.

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