Instacart Settles Over Alleged Labor For Nearly $750K

March 29, 2024


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Emery Reddy

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Grocery delivery company Instacart will pay nearly $750,000 to settle allegations it failed to comply with Seattle’s law mandating gig workers receive paid sick and safe time.

The settlement came following an investigation by Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards.

App-based companies like Instacart, DoorDash, Uber and Lyft were required for the first time to provide paid sick time to its independent contractor drivers at the beginning of the pandemic. The temporary ordinance was made permanent last year.

Under the law, drivers can accrue one day of paid sick leave for every 30 days worked. Drivers may use the program to care for themselves or others in the event of a physical or mental condition; reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or if the school of a driver’s child is closed.

The Office of Labor Standards alleges Instacart was asking for verification from drivers who had requested three days off, when the law only allows companies to confirm the days are being used for an approved purpose when drivers request more than three days.

The office also accused Instacart of failing to allow drivers who had been deactivated from the platform to use their accrued time off. The company also failed to provide accurate compensation rates when telling drivers how much paid sick time they had accrued, the labor office said.

“Regardless of work environment, all workers, including gig and app-based workers, many of whom are immigrants and people of color, deserve protections against subminimum pay and access to [paid sick and safe time],” Office of Labor Standards Director Steven Marchese said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Instacart said in a statement the company would “continue to comply” with the city’s regulations. “Despite the complicated nature of the ordinance, Instacart worked diligently to comply and paid out millions of dollars to eligible shoppers,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Of the total payout, about $730,000 will go toward reimbursing more than 5,500 drivers. An additional nearly $19,000 in fines will go to the city.

Last year, DoorDash settled allegations from the Office of Labor Standards that it was violating the paid sick and safe time ordinance for $1.6 million.

The paid sick and safe time ordinance was one piece of a larger push to regulate app-based companies that rely on contracted delivery drivers. Another piece is a base minimum wage that the new Seattle City Council will begin revisiting this week.

Read the original article here.

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