Seattle City Council signs laws mandating Uber or Lyft pay their workers a minimum wage


Seattle City Council unanimously passed a “package of laws” in regards to transportation services such as Uber or Lyft. The laws state that these companies must pay their workers a minimum wage. 

Being the second city to do so, after New York did so earlier this year, rideshare companies with more than 500 employees must now pay their drivers a $16 dollar minimum wage. According to the New York Times, the law passed with a 9-0 vote and is “is part of a wave of attempts by cities and states to regulate gig-economy transportation services.” The measure creates a formula for drivers compensation which would pay the drivers just under $30 when they are less busy. This initiative is reportedly an attempt to incentivize the companies to keep their drivers busy. 

The Fare Share Plan created by Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, required the city to set a minimum pay standard. Last year, California passed law AB-5 which would force rideshare companies to change their drivers status from independent contractor to employee. This would then make it a requirement for the companies to pay their workers a minimum wage and give them benefits. Many companies however, refused to comply with the order and have since been fighting the law in courts. The companies have kept their drivers as independent contractors because they claim to offer digital platform services that match drivers with riders, not transportation services.

In August of 2020, both Uber and Lyft threatened that they would leave the state and no longer offer their services in California. Lyft spokesperson CJ Macklin, in a comment made to The Hill, said that the law passed is, “‘deeply flawed and will actually destroy jobs for thousands of people — as many as 4,000 drivers on Lyft alone — and drive rideshare companies out of Seattle’”. Seattle would be the second state, following New York, to set a minimum pay standard for the drivers of rideshare companies. The Fare Share plan is much different than the California law AB-5, which Uber and Lyft have resisted while simultaneously pouring millions of dollars into a ballot measure which would exempt them from California’s law. 



Leave a Reply