Uber and Lyft drivers in King County are disproportionately low income and predominately from immigrant and refugee communities, according to the mayor's office.   - Photo via Lyft.

Uber and Lyft drivers in King County are disproportionately low income and predominately from immigrant and refugee communities, according to the mayor's office.  

Photo via Lyft.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan recently announced that she will transmit legislation to the city council later this month to propose a new minimum wage standard for Uber and Lyft drivers to ensure all drivers are paid at least the Seattle minimum wage plus reasonable expenses.

A study by James Parrott of The New School and Michael Reich of the University of California, Berkeley found that drivers in Seattle are making $9.73 an hour after expenses, well below the Seattle minimum wage. Using the study, Seattle will mandate that TNCs pay drivers at least $0.56 per minute plus compensation for reasonable expenses and will ensure drivers are paid for all of their time, including the time spent circling and waiting for a ride.  

Preliminary analysis suggests the new wage standard would improve pay for 84% of drivers, the mayor's office said.

In outreach conducted by the city to almost 11,000 drivers, the need for increased pay and compensation were cited as their highest priority. Uber and Lyft drivers in King County are disproportionately low income and predominately from immigrant and refugee communities, according to the mayor's office.  

“The pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the consequences of the growing gig work industries, most of which do not provide standard worker protections," Durkan said in a statement. "Building on work begun last year, our legislation will significantly improve the compensation for the vast majority of Uber and Lyft drivers in our city. As we rebuild our economy and city in the wake of COVID-19, and as demand for TNC services begins to recover, we must build back better by ensuring fair wages for Uber and Lyft drivers as they are able to come back to work."

The minimum compensation standard would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. Mayor’s office representatives will present the proposal to the city council next week and legislation will be submitted before the end of the month.   

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