Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards announced an agreement last week with Postmates Inc. for the company to pay $972,075.89 to settle allegations under the city’s pandemic-related Gig Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time ordinance.
The office said it began an investigation after receiving complaints from independent contractor workers for Postmates. They said the company had failed to provide paid sick and safe time, failed to provide workers with notice of the company’s paid sick and safe time policy and failed to provide workers with their balance of paid sick and safe time.
Seattle’s ordinance allows independent contractor drivers to earn paid sick to care for themselves or others, or if a company suspends service. The ordinance is in effect during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Postmates’ settlement includes $949,815.49 in back wages, interest, liquidated damages and civil penalties to 1,646 independent contractor workers. It also includes $22,260.40 in fines to Seattle.
The city’s investigation of Postmates began before the company was acquired by Uber in December 2020.
“While these issues arose before our purchase of Postmates was finalized, we appreciate the Office of Labor Standards’ close coordination with us to correct any outstanding issues,” said Zahid Arab, public affairs manager for Uber.
The company has worked to ensure that all Postmates independent contractors on its its platform receive the paid sick and safe time to which they are entitled, Arab said.
Uber itself in June agreed to pay $3.5 million in a settlement under the Seattle law.
The office acknowledged Postmates’ work.
“OLS is pleased to see Postmates’ willingness to correct noncompliance issues with Seattle’s labor standards,” said OLS Director Steven Marchese. “As more labor standards issues arise in the gig worker industry, it’s important these large companies acknowledge their mistakes and take the necessary measures to make their workers whole. Gig worker protections are vital to support workers and keep Seattle’s gig economy thriving.”