Seattle gig workers granted paid sick leave with new law

May 9, 2023

On March 29, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signed a law that will entitle nearly all gig workers to paid sick leave. This applies to those working jobs such as Uber Eats and food delivery services like DoorDash.

“No one should have to choose between taking a sick day to care for themselves or their families and making rent,” said Harrell in a public statement the day before signing the bill.

This new measure expands previous laws implemented during the pandemic era that were put in place to protect food service workers. Under the law, employees will accrue a day of paid sick leave for every 30 days worked in Seattle. This makes Seattle the first U.S. city to guarantee sick leave for app-based and other gig workers.

However, similar bills have been passed in California, making it easier for gig workers to be classified as full-time employees, allowing such workers to reap the benefits of being a full-time employee. Gig workers will also receive paid “safe time” during periods when their companies suspend their services due to health or safety concerns. Advocates for gig workers celebrated the mayor’s signing of the new law, which will start covering employees starting Jan. 13, 2024.

There is concern among companies such as Instacart, a grocery delivery service, that the law will raise the prices to customers at a time of already high inflation and impact their profits, but the business publicly stated that it values its workers’ well-being above all else.

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