At my house, we have a Friday night tradition—we order dinner and watch a movie as a family. It’s a time we cherish with our kids…and it’s all thanks to delivery workers. And, during the height of the pandemic, as many of us were sheltering at home, restaurant delivery workers were traveling around the city at all hours, providing us with warm meals directly to our doors, and ensuring that many of our beloved restaurants could stay open and in business.
Through rain, sleet, snow, and extreme heat, delivery workers brave the elements to bring us our meals, and they do it in the face of dangerous working conditions for very low wages and no benefits. Currently, these workers make an average of $4.03 per hour without tips, after accounting for their expenses. This is far below the State’s minimum wage and below what other workers in similar industries make.
Delivery workers deserve to earn fair pay. That is why, last year, the City Council tasked the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) with setting a minimum pay rate for these essential workers.
After a comprehensive analysis of pay and working conditions in this industry, DCWP is proposing that these workers should be earning an average of $23.82 per hour. This proposed rate, which would be finalized after a public hearing and consideration of public comments, would be phased in over the next two years and would be comprised of a base rate of $19.86, $2.26 to cover workers’ job-related expenses, like safety gear, and $1.70 to reflect the absence of workers’ compensation insurance. The public hearing on the proposed rule will be held on Friday, December 16, 2022, at 11 AM. New Yorkers are encouraged to submit public comments at rules.cityofnewyork.us.
This is an issue of equity. There are over 60,000 New Yorkers who perform this work, and the majority are younger, non-white men.
The next time you order your favorite meal for delivery, remember the human being behind the app. They risk their lives for us every day, just to support their loved ones at home. It is past time we give them dignified pay.
Vilda Vera Mayuga is the Commissioner for the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection. Learn more about DCWP’s Office of Labor Policy & Standards—NYC’s central resource for workers—at nyc.gov/workers.