Most gig workers paid sick leave under Seattle’s new law

SEATTLE (AP) — Most gig workers in Seattle are permanently entitled to paid sick leave and secure time under a nationwide first law signed into law by Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell on Wednesday. The measure extends protections during the pandemic period and strengthens labor rights for app-based workers.

Previously, Seattle allowed food delivery workers to collect paid sick leave and back-up time, but that policy was scheduled to expire on May 1, six months after the end of the emergency order imposed by the city amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The city council voted unanimously Tuesday to make it permanent for “on-demand” gig workers in apps like DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart.

“A healthy workforce breeds a healthy community, and no one should have to choose between taking a sick day to care for themselves — or their family — or paying rent,” Harrell said.

The measure also expands the categories of workers covered by the policy beyond grocery delivery to include those working for car washes or other apps. Workers who set their own tariffs, such as B. some pet sitting apps, but are not covered.

Drivers of transportation companies like Uber and Lyft are already earning paid sick and safety time through a state law signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee last year.

Seattle was one of the first cities in 2012 to require companies to provide gig workers with paid sick leave when they have medical appointments or need to help care for a sick relative, and secure vacation when they need to care for themselves or a family member domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault.

The city expanded the law to include app-based food delivery companies in 2020. citing the danger many were exposing themselves to to earn money for rent or other expenses. Some companies have not complied; Postmates agreed to pay nearly $1 million after denying Seattle workers sick time.

The policy’s permanent implementation is the latest in a series of achievements for workers’ representatives in the city. The council passed a bill last spring that would guarantee minimum wage and mileage for app drivers.

In an emailed statement, Instacart suggested the measure was “misguided.”

“Instacart stands ready to work with any policymaker who prioritizes the health and safety of shoppers who choose to earn income through our platform,” it said. “However, at a time of high inflation and tight fiscal budgets, it is crucial that policymakers also consider the mounting financial burden their misguided policy proposals could have on their constituents.”

At the national level, the administration of President Joe Biden has proposed new standards that could make it harder to classify millions of workers as independent contractors and deny them minimum wages and benefits.

“I’ve heard from contributors to these apps for years that … having to work due to injury and illness has always been a huge challenge,” said Joel Shapiro, co-founder of Seattle-based grocery delivery app Dumpling Rat. “All workers should be able to take sick leave if they need it, regardless of what type of work they do.”

City council member Teresa Mosqueda, who sponsored the measure, thanked the workers for their efforts.

“Our city must take care of you as you have taken care of our families,” Mosqueda said before signing the bill. “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to protect frontline workers, protect their health, because your health is good for the health of the population.”

By law, workers are credited with one day of paid sick or safety time for every 30 days that they stop in Seattle for work. They would receive their average daily compensation for each calendar day they worked in Seattle in the previous 12 months.

Maria Hernandez, who has worked for apps that deliver groceries since 2019, testified before the council Tuesday that when she had breast cancer surgery in 2021, doctors told her to take three months off to prepare for radiation. But she was short on money in the bank and returned to work after just a month; Her company insisted the paid sick leave was only for COVID-related illnesses, she said.

“This new permanent law will help create more than just a day off for anyone who is sick,” she said. “It will give us rest and some peace in our hearts.”

Source :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *