Most gig workers in Seattle will be permanently entitled to paid sick leave under a new law that expands coronavirus pandemic-era protections and strengthens labour rights for app-based workers.
Under the law, workers will accrue one day of paid sick or safe leave — to be used when caring for themselves or a family member because of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault — for every 30 days that they make a work-related stop in Seattle. They’ll be paid their average daily compensation for each calendar day they worked in Seattle over the previous 12 months.
A previous policy that allowed Seattle food delivery workers to accrue paid sick and safe leave was due to expire May 1, six months after the end of the city’s pandemic emergency order.
The measure also expands the categories of workers covered by the policy beyond food delivery to include those who work for car wash or other apps. However, workers who set their own rates, such as those on some pet-sitting apps, won’t be covered.
Drivers for transportation companies such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. already earn paid sick and safe leave through a Washington state law signed by Governor Jay Inslee last year.
In 2012, Seattle became one of the first cities to require businesses to provide paid sick leave for gig workers when they have medical appointments or need to help care for a sick relative.
The city expanded the law to cover app-based food delivery workers in 2020, citing the danger many were exposing themselves to amid the pandemic. Some companies failed to comply; Postmates Inc. agreed to pay nearly $1 million after denying sick leave to workers. Last June, the city approved a bill guaranteeing app-based workers minimum pay and mileage.