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Seattle gig workers just won a big win. Wednesday, August 4th, Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS) announced that it has settled a nearly $ 1 million lawsuit with third-party delivery p Postmates for alleged violations of the city Ordinance for Gig Workers Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST). The settlement includes $ 949,815.49 in arrears, interest, liquidated damages, and civil penalties for 1,646 gig workers and $ 22,260.40 in fines for the city of Seattle.
Seattle’s ordinance, which the City Council unanimously passed and went into effect last July, allows third-party delivery drivers such as Postmates to have access to paid sick leave – one day off for every 30 calendar days worked, backdated to October 2019 (or whenever every employee has taken up a job). It also allows gig employees to use PSST in 24-hour increments to care for themselves or a family member for health reasons, situations related to domestic violence or sexual assault, or when a loved one’s school or care facility has been closed. Employees can take up to three days of paid sickness before they are required to provide a medical certificate or other proof of care, with compensation being recalculated every month to reflect changes in earnings.
The Office of Labor Standards opened an investigation last fall after local workers raised concerns that Postmates were inappropriately implementing these benefits and allegedly violating several other aspects of the law, including failure to notify policy or being on sick leave. Drivers should expect to receive payments from the lawsuit within the next 30 days. OLS says it also has two other active investigations related to PSST but did not provide any further details.
In December 2020, Uber acquired Postmates and the company did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. „Although these issues arose before our Postmates purchase was completed, we appreciate the Office of Labor Standards working closely with us to resolve any outstanding issues,” said an Uber spokesman. “We worked tirelessly to ensure that the Postmates [sic] Platform has received the paid sickness and secure time they are entitled to, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with OLS. ”
This isn’t the first time Postmates have been part of a major cash settlement due to Seattle gig worker rules. In September 2020, the company, along with DoorDash, paid out more than $ 350,000 in compensation to drivers after the city’s warning money mandate went into effect this summer. DoorDash paid $ 111,435 to 2,998 Seattle workers, while Postmates paid $ 250,515 to 2,975 workers. The wage bill requires companies to give gig workers extra money until the city’s civil emergency, which is still in effect, ends.