October 22, 2020

Volume X, Number 296

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Seattle Enacts Gig Worker Premium Pay Ordinance During COVID-19 Crisis

The Seattle City Council has enacted the Premium Pay for Gig Workers Ordinance, which temporarily provides premium pay to “gig workers” for online food delivery network companies with at least 250 gig workers worldwide.

The ordinance took effect on June 26, 2020, and will end at the expiration of the Mayor’s civil emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the law’s other legal requirements, such as recordkeeping, will stay in effect for three years.

The new law applies to all such gig workers who have a work-related stop in Seattle.

Food delivery network companies must pay a gig worker the following premium pay for each online order:

  • $2.50 for one pick-up or one drop-off in Seattle;

  • $1.25 for each additional pick-up point in Seattle; and

  • $1.25 for each additional drop-off point in Seattle.

This premium pay is due to the gig worker when they are paid for the associated online order. The companies also must identify which orders qualify for premium pay and separately itemize premium pay from other compensation to the gig worker.

As a result of this law, companies may not:

  1. Reduce or modify their service areas in Seattle;

  2. Reduce gig worker compensation;

  3. Limit gig worker earning capacity (such as by limiting access to online orders); or

  4. Add customer charges to online orders for delivery of groceries.

Companies must provide each gig worker with notice of their right to premium pay, to protection from retaliation, and either to bring a lawsuit or to file a complaint with the Seattle Office of Labor Standards. This notice must be in an electronic format by smartphone application or online web portal.

In a lawsuit, prevailing gig workers can recover treble (three times) economic damages, interest, a monetary penalty of up to $55,462.70 for retaliation, and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Gig workers also can bring actions on a class basis and obtain equitable relief.

This law is in addition to Seattle’s new law granting paid sick and safe time to gig workers. For details of that law, see our article, Seattle Enacts Gig Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance During COVID-19 Crisis.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume X, Number 182
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About this Author

Peter Nohle, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Seattle, Labor and Employment Attorney
Principal

Peter H. Nohle is a Principal in the Seattle, Washington, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice involves the regular representation of clients in state and federal court and before state and federal administrative agencies.

Mr. Nohle has represented a wide variety of clients in the retail, technology and media sectors. In addition to his traditional employment-related litigation practice, which includes the defense of sexual harassment, discrimination, wage and hour violation, FMLA compliance and wrongful termination...

206-626-6436
Jonathan Minear, Employers Attorney, Wage and Hour Compliance Lawyer, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Seattle
Associate

Jonathan M. Minear is an Associate in the Seattle, Washington, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He focuses his practice on litigating workplace law matters and assisting employers with preventive advice and counsel.

Mr. Minear represents employers in state and federal courts in a broad range of matters, including harassment, discrimination, retaliation, employment torts, breach of contract, wage and hour compliance, and wrongful termination claims. He also appears before administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. In addition, he represents clients in appeals to all levels of Washington state courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

206-626-6432
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