Washington has become the first US state to set earnings standards for ride-hailing companies after Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a minimum pay standard for Lyft and Uber drivers.
As Reuters reported Friday (April 1), the law — signed Thursday (March 31) — said Uber and Lyft drivers in Washington will earn a minimum of $1.17 per mile and 34 cents per minute with minimum pay of $3 for each trip.
But while the law gives drivers things like paid sick time, family medical leave, long-term care programs and workers’ compensation, it also bans local governments from imposing additional requirements for the ride-hailing companies and said that the drivers are not employees, a sore point between labor groups and gig economy giants.
Uber and Lyft have fought several legal and political battles across the US and elsewhere to push back against laws and propositions to have their drivers declared direct employees, which would qualify them for a series of benefits and impose numerous requirements on the ride-sharing companies.
The law does not affect a measure passed in Seattle in 2020 that gives drivers a minimum pay of $1.38 per mile, 59 cents per minute and a per-trip minimum of $5.17.
Reuters noted that the law was supported by Uber and Lyft.
“This new law decisively gives drivers what they want — to stay independent while gaining historic new benefits and protections,” Uber’s head of public policy in the Western U.S., Ramona Prieto, said in a statement.
Prieto said Uber hoped the law could be replicated in other cities, states and countries.
“Drivers achieved this win because labor organizations, legislators and app-based companies listened to them, and then worked together to drive a historic bill that works for them,” Lyft’s head of government relations, Jen Hensley, said in a statement.
Reuters said the law was backed by the Teamsters union Local 117, which had also fought for the Seattle pay standard.
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