Delivery workers in New York City will be paid a minimum wage

The pandemic has accelerated food delivery.
The pandemic has accelerated food delivery.
Image: Reuters/Carlo Allegri
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

New York City is giving a raise to food delivery workers.

The New York City Council passed a “minimum per trip payment” today (Sept. 23) as part of a series of bills aimed at improving working conditions for app-based delivery workers. The measures also address longstanding problems for the city’s estimated 65,000 food delivery workers have faced, including access to restaurant bathrooms, limiting the distance for deliveries, and disclosing gratuity policies to workers.

This is the latest regulatory blow for delivery companies Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub. In recent weeks, the companies have clashed in a series of legal battles with San Francisco and New York City, cities where restaurants are essential to the local economy, over how much the services can charge restaurants, and about the sharing of customer data with restaurants.

The plight of food delivery workers during the pandemic

“Delivery workers have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic risking their lives, their livelihoods,” said Carlina Rivera, a  New York City councilwoman, in a statement to Bloomberg. “They have almost singlehandedly sustained our restaurant industry. We all saw those photos of waist-deep water that they were wading through to bring people their food and medication.”

When restaurants tried to stay afloat during the pandemic, food delivery became more important to their success. But the increased regulation has also led delivery companies, which are struggling to become profitable, to increase costs for customers.

To determine the minimum pay, New York City will study food delivery working conditions. It will consider how delivery workers are paid, the total income food delivery workers earn, the equipment required to perform their work, the hours worked, and the average mileage of a trip, among other items. The minimum payment is to be established no later than January of 2023.

New York is not the only city looking to raise the minimum wage of food delivery workers. In mid-September, the Seattle City Council drafted a policy to set a pay standard for all app-based food delivery workers—an estimated 40,000 workers—ensuring the payment of minimum wage plus expenses.

Both Seattle and New York City have also passed minimum wages for ride-hailing drivers.