Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) and her Council Colleagues will vote on legislation this afternoon expanding paid sick and safe time protections to gig workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Earned paid sick and safe time would cover app-based drivers (transportation network companies such as Uber, Lyft) and app-based food delivery network company workers (such as Postmates, Uber Eats, etc.).
“Gig workers have been left out of health and safety protections afforded to most working people in Seattle and across the country. But now it is essential that these essential workers have paid sick days so they don’t have to go to work ill during the time of COVID-19. This bill will provide sick leave benefits to drivers and delivery workers on the frontlines of our COVID-19 crisis, providing essential services – like groceries and rides – to our elders, healthcare workers and Seattle families. When workers have access to paid sick and safe leave, they don’t make impossible choices between staying home and recovering or getting paid. Sick and safe leave leads to healthier communities – and we need that now, especially, during the COVID-19 crisis,” Mosqueda said.
“When the crisis hit, I had to rely on Postmates entirely for my income,” said Postmates driver, Megan. “Then in March, I got sick. At first I thought it was just a regular cold, but I was sick for most of the month, and there were four or five days where all I could do was stay home and sleep. Postmates said they were providing sick pay, but it wouldn’t apply to me because you needed to test positive for COVID-19, and at the time we didn’t have access to testing here. So at the very beginning, I kept delivering. The responsible thing to do is stay home – and when I realized I might have COVID-19, that’s what I did. But taking time off has meant I’m not paying rent and I’ve given up on my credit card bills. Work is work, and gig workers deserve sick leave.”
Council Bill 119793 will allow gig workers payment for paid sick and safe time based on the worker’s “average daily compensation” for each day worked for the hiring entity during the highest earning calendar month since October 1, 2019 or since the commencement of work for the hiring entity, whichever date is latest.
“I’ve been home sick with tonsillitis for the last week and a fever came on over the weekend,” said Uber driver Zakaria Jarato. “As the sole-provider for a family of five, any illness creates a lot of stress, particularly during this pandemic. Because I don’t receive a single paid sick day from Uber, we have to live off credit cards.”
Other details of the legislation include:
- Gig workers can use up to three days of paid sick and safe time before being required to produce a doctor’s note or other proof of care.
- Average daily compensation would be recalculated every month to reflect changes in gig worker’s earnings.
- Hiring entities are required to provide monthly notification of gig workers’ current rate of average daily compensation, and how much paid sick and safe time each worker has available.
- Workers can carry up to nine accrued unused PSST days to the following calendar year.
- The requirement to provide accrual and use of paid sick and safe time will end 180 days after the termination of the Mayor’s civil emergency or the termination of any concurrent civil emergency due to COVID-19.
- The remaining requirements will stay in effect for three years to retain provisions necessary for recordkeeping and enforcement.
The Office of Labor Standards (OLS) would implement and enforce PSST requirements. Aggrieved parties also would have a private right of action.