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Labor protections for food delivery workers

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2023 | Employment Law |

New York City is popularly known as the world’s food capital because it’s home to various cuisines and the cultures that birthed them. But the city’s restaurants wouldn’t have survived the economic blow of COVID-19 without the help of app-based food delivery workers, who continue to provide an invaluable service to diners throughout the area.

According to the New York Times, there are as many as 80,000 food delivery workers in New York City. But as impressive as that number is, it was only very recently, in 2022, that the city adopted new rules to protect food delivery workers from exploitation.

What are these rules, and what rights are food delivery workers entitled to?

The rights of delivery workers

The Office of Labor Policy & Standards of New York City states that those who work through a restaurant delivery app like Uber Eats, GrubHub and DoorDash are entitled to the following rights:

  • Payment: Food delivery workers must receive payment at least once a week, and apps can’t charge a “processing fee” for this payment.
  • Payment information: Food delivery apps must also inform delivery workers how much customers are tipping per delivery as well as their net pay and tips for the previous day.
  • Delivery information: Apps should tell delivery workers the pickup address, the trip’s distance, how long the journey would take, and the tip and pay details before the workers accept an order.
  • Access to restaurant bathrooms: Workers can use the bathrooms of the restaurants they pick up food from.
  • Control over delivery distances: Workers can restrict how far they are willing to deliver food from a restaurant to a customer’s location and indicate which bridges or tunnels they will use. Food delivery apps also can’t force workers to take trips outside those restrictions, and workers are free to adjust their limits as necessary.
  • A free food delivery bag: After performing six deliveries for an app, the app must provide the worker with an insulated bag for their food deliveries at no charge. The worker is free to choose whether to use the bag during deliveries.

It is illegal for delivery apps to punish workers for exercising these rights. Food delivery workers finally have their rights and shouldn’t be made to suffer injustices such as not being allowed to take a quick bathroom break. Workers denied any of these rights should consider seeking legal guidance.