Cushion or drain? Minimum-wage hike for food delivery drivers may get cut after debate in Seattle (2024)

Seattle is one step closer to rolling back a recently instituted minimum-wage increase for food delivery drivers after nearly three hours of mixed debate from drivers, restaurant owners and labor advocates. Eliminating the $5 fee and reducing the mileage rate would the latest development in the nascent effort to bring drivers for companies including Uber Eats and DoorDash into the minimum-wage discussion.

As contract workers, delivery drivers on these apps don't qualify for their local minimum wage. Seattle and New York City changed that – becoming the first two U.S. cities to introduce a base pay for drivers. New York City’s minimum pay rate for app delivery workers is$19.56 per hourbefore tips.

In Seattle, some food delivery drivers expressed skepticism towards the initial PayUp law, saying they’ve brought home less pay because of a drop in online orders. Other drivers said the minimum wage goes farther to cover their living costs. Several restaurant owners have reported a decline in delivery sales due to increased fees on the delivery apps.

The local government committee responded to complaints by voting to decrease the minimum wage for gig workers. The changes will be passed into law later this month if the full council votes the same way.

Cushion or drain? Minimum-wage hike for food delivery drivers may get cut after debate in Seattle (1)

Delivery drivers react to minimum wage law

During Thursday's council meeting, close to half the delivery gig workers spoke out against the law saying their income had declined due to lack of orders. Other drivers with Working Washington showed support for the minimum wage law because they say the extra pay went farther to cover basic expenses.

Arianna Riley, a delivery driver with DoorDash, Uber Eats and Amazon flex, said before PayUp was passed in 2022, she took home close to $10 an hour on Uber Eats, after paying for gas. Now she earns at least $24 an hour. Riley said with the minimum wage in place, she can afford to pay for car repairs and not worry about covering other costs that pop up.

"I think that the app companies have been taking advantage of workers for a long time," Riley said.

Alex Kim has been a delivery driver with DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats for several years. He said he enjoys the flexibility of being a gig worker.

"I had to pay a $1,000 car repair bill recently, and that was not a problem." Kim said. "Now I have a cushion in my bank credit card debt has gone way down."

Kim said DoorDash and Grubhub have been good to work for with the new law in place. "That has a lot to do with the fact that their fees are pretty reasonable, at least in comparison to Uber Eats." Kim added that the apps still allow for upfront tipping - a major source of pay for drivers.

But not all gig workers are happy with the outcomes of the PayUp bill. Gary Lardizabal has been working with Uber Eats since 2018. Before the minimum wage law, he made $800 to $1,200 a week. Now on a good day he takes home $100.

"It's been extremely stressful. I have another part time job, because it's slow now. The money days are Friday and Saturday."

He believes the PayUp bill has caused the uptick in prices on delivery apps, but is hopeful the new bill will bring down costs to consumers.

Some advocates of the minimum wage bill have accused food delivery apps of retaliating against the law by introducing increased fees on their platforms.

Spice Waala, a small chain restaurant in Seattle shared on Instagram that they've experienced a 30% decrease in delivery sales. They said the decline is "largely attributed to the $5 surcharge the City of Seattleimposed to help with minimum wage problems for those drivers."

Minimum wage laws:With quarterly revenue topping $5 billion, DoorDash, Uber push back on driver wage laws

What to know:Fast food chains, workers are bracing for California's minimum wage increase

Change to legislation for delivery drivers would decrease base pay

On Thursday, a Seattle City Council committee voted to rollback their initial minimum wage law that required delivery apps to pay drivers $5 per order, or 44 cents per minute, plus 74 cents per mile. DoorDashrecently saidthat the law requires drivers to be paid at least $26.40 per hour of active delivery time, before tips. Drivers at the council meeting pushed back and said their take home pay is below that amount.

If voted into law by the full council later this month, the rewritten legislation will require apps to pay drivers 33 cents per minute and 35 cents a mile. Workers would only be paid for time spent picking up and delivering orders. They're also responsible for costs like gas.

Proponents of the changed legislation called it a compromise and said it would allow delivery drivers to be paid the same rate as Seattle's minimum wage of $19.97 an hour worked.

The nonprofit,Worker Washington said in a recent reportthat the new law would lower drivers net pay to $13.17 per hour, due to payroll taxes and mileage costs.

Cushion or drain? Minimum-wage hike for food delivery drivers may get cut after debate in Seattle (2024)


What is the new delivery law in Seattle? ›

Last month, Seattle City Council President Sara Nelson introduced new legislation that lowers the minimum wage standard for drivers from $26.40 to $19.97, in addition to other changes from the existing law.

What is the minimum wage in Seattle 2025? ›

Starting on Jan. 1, 2025, the minimum wage will increase to $20.29 per hour across unincorporated King County. The minimum wage will be subjected to increases based on inflation. The ordinance, cosponsored by council members Rod Dembowski, Teresa Mosqueda, and Jorge L.

What is the minimum salary in Seattle? ›

Local Minimum Wage Rates

Bellingham : $17.28/hr. Seattle : $19.97/hr. SeaTac : $19.71/hr. Tukwila: $20.29/hr.

What is the minimum wage in Bellevue, Washington? ›

The minimum wage in Washington will increase from $15.74 to $16.28 per hour on Jan. 1, 2024. Younger workers, ages 14 or 15, can expect to be paid $13.84 an hour (85% of the standard minimum wage).

What is the minimum wage in California? ›

The minimum wage in California for all employers starting January 1, 2024, is $16 per hour. Fast food restaurant employers are required to provide a minimum wage of $20 per hour on April 1, while the wage for healthcare facilities also increased on June 1 (it can be paid from between $18 to $23 per hour).

What is the King County minimum wage? ›

King County raises minimum wage to $20.29

The state's minimum wage went from $15.74 to $16.28 in January, a 3.4% increase. While Washington's statewide minimum wage is the highest in the U.S., it falls just below the District of Columbia's $17. The federal standard is $7.25.

How much do food delivery drivers make in Seattle? ›

As of May 28, 2024, the average hourly pay for a Food Delivery Driver in Seattle is $21.40 an hour.

How much do Doordashers get paid in Seattle? ›

Implementing new minimum pay requirements

Dashers who deliver in Seattle will now earn at least $26.40 per hour, before tips, plus mileage for time on delivery–far exceeding Seattle minimum wage. This rate excludes tips and is just a minimum, so Dashers still have the opportunity to earn more than the minimum.

What is the 2024 minimum wage in Seattle? ›

Seattle announced that effective January 1, 2024, its minimum wage will increase to $19.97 per hour for employers with 501 or more employees. The 2024 minimum wage marks a 6.85 percent year-over-year increase.

Can you live in Seattle with 60k salary? ›

The salary needed for a single adult to live in T-Town is $68,358 or an hourly wage of $32.86.

What is a good hourly wage in Seattle? ›

Hourly Salary in Seattle, WA
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$99,577$48
75th Percentile$66,000$32
25th Percentile$59,200$28

What is a livable salary in Seattle? ›

According to MIT's Living Wage Calculator that was last updated on February 14, 2024, a living wage for a single adult with no children working full-time in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area is $28.70 an hour. That comes to an annual salary of about $57,000 a year.

Is 150k enough to live in Seattle? ›

Not quite. According to a recent survey done by the Census Bureau, the average income in Seattle is $110,000. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Services, the average price of a house in King County is $726,000 as of February 2023.

Why is Washington state minimum wage so high? ›

Washington has highest minimum wage of any US State

That means it's increasing by $0.54 in 2024. According to Washington's Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), the increase is "directly linked to the cost of common goods such as housing, food, and medical care as reflected in the Consumer Price Index."

How much is $16 an hour a year? ›

If you make $16 an hour, your yearly salary would be $33,280.

Where is the highest minimum wage? ›

Which states have the highest minimum wage?
  • District of Columbia: $17.
  • Washington: $16.28.
  • California: $16.
  • New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties: $16.
  • Connecticut: $15.69.
Apr 15, 2024

Why is fast-food minimum wage higher? ›

The vast majority of fast-food locations in California operate under the most profitable brands in the world.” “Those corporations need to pay their fair share and provide their operators with the resources they need to pay their workers a living wage without cutting jobs or passing the cost to consumers,” said Bryan.

What are the new DoorDash rules in Seattle? ›

The new ordinance would bring the minimum pay rate for delivery drivers from $26.40 to $19.97, in line with Seattle's citywide minimum wage for employed workers. Some argue that overall pay for drivers should account for expenses such as payroll taxes that drivers pay for on their own as independent contractors.

What is the delivery ordinance in Seattle? ›

After an ordinance raising the minimum wage for app delivery workers went into effect in mid-January, DoorDash and Uber Eats both tacked on a $5 fee to all orders placed in Seattle. Customers balked at paying these fees, and many Seattle restaurants reported sharp revenue decreases.

What is the delivery mandate in Seattle? ›

The regulations, which went into effect Jan. 13 of this year, require companies with at least 250 delivery workers internationally to pay them a minimum of $0.44 per minute and $0.74 per mile while working on orders in Seattle. This balances out to $26.40 an hour.

What is the new delivery fee in Seattle? ›

Seattle's new wage standard, which took effect in early January, requires the companies to pay at least 44 cents per minute, plus 74 cents per mile during orders, or a minimum of $5 per order — intended to at least match and possibly exceed the city's minimum wage.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Merrill Bechtelar CPA

Last Updated:

Views: 5965

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Merrill Bechtelar CPA

Birthday: 1996-05-19

Address: Apt. 114 873 White Lodge, Libbyfurt, CA 93006

Phone: +5983010455207

Job: Legacy Representative

Hobby: Blacksmithing, Urban exploration, Sudoku, Slacklining, Creative writing, Community, Letterboxing

Introduction: My name is Merrill Bechtelar CPA, I am a clean, agreeable, glorious, magnificent, witty, enchanting, comfortable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.