NYC proposes minimum wage for app-based delivery workers

Jared Maloney

New York City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection called for an increase in the minimum wage for app-based delivery workers.

“Delivery workers have delivered for New York time and again, including during the COVID-19 pandemic,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a news release. “Now it’s time for New York to deliver for them.”

More than 60,000 people work for an app-based delivery service in the city, forming a very visible part of the city’s workforce. About 58% of them are between the ages of 18 and 34, while 91% of them do identify as Hispanic.

The department published a report that detailed the delivery workers’ low wages. Payment splits evenly from the app, including tips averaging at $14.18 but dropping to $11.12 after expenses.

Without tips, the average app-based delivery worker only earned $4.03 an hour.

The department proposed a minimum wage of $23.82 per hour. The wage breaks down to $19.86 for the base rate, $2.26 to cover workers’ expenses and $1.70 to account for the lack of workers’ compensation insurance.

The department also said it would adjust the wage for inflation every April 1 “to ensure that the rate keeps pace with the cost of living.”

The city would implement the proposed rate on April 1, 2025. The plan is based on the phasing in of the city’s $15 minimum wage between 2016 and 2018 for large employers.

The wage will be paid to delivery workers based on the time spent delivering an order, plus the time spent connecting to the app and waiting for a trip offer.

Adams added that the city looks “forward to hearing public comment on the new proposed rules” as it prepares to make it into law.

However, delivery workers are already protesting the wage. They argued that there should be an additional $5 to the proposed $23.82 to account for out-of-pocket expenses.

“This job, it’s difficult, it’s complicated,” delivery worker Antonio Solís told Gothamist in Spanish. “Many have lost their lives doing this job. We have to have a just salary.”

Several delivery apps fired back at the plan. They claimed that an effort to set this minimum wage could have unintended consequences.

A spokesperson for DoorDash Inc. said that delivery gigs with the company have allowed workers “to earn when, where and how often they choose.”

“Unfortunately, the proposed rule does not appropriately account for this flexibility or that Dashers are able to choose which deliveries they accept or reject,” the DoorDash spokesperson told FreightWaves. “Failing to address this could significantly increase the costs of delivery, reducing orders for local businesses and harming the very delivery workers it intends to support.”

The spokesperson added that the company will “work with policymakers on a reasonable approach,” so that it “reflects the way Dashers use the platform for flexible earning opportunities and keeps these services within reach for businesses and consumers.”

In addition to the low wages, the department also found that delivery workers experience the highest injury rate of any industry in the city. It reported that 29% of app-based delivery workers who use e-bikes or mopeds and 10% of workers who use cars were seriously injured on the job.

The report said 33% of workers who use e-bikes or mopeds have experienced some form of assault while on the job, and 10% of them were seriously injured during the assault.

Additionally, 33 worker fatalities have been reported since 2020. This number includes app-based delivery workers and restaurant workers.