The New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection recently announced the first-of-its-kind proposed minimum pay rate for NYC’s more than 60,000 app-based restaurant delivery workers. The proposed rate, if fully implemented, would be $23.82 per hour: a $19.86 base rate, $2.26 to cover workers’ expenses and $1.70 to reflect the absence of workers’ compensation insurance.
According to the announcement, since restaurant delivery apps classify their delivery workers as independent contractors and not as employees, these workers do not receive a minimum wage, expense reimbursement, or other benefits like health insurance and are paid $7.09 per hour on average, excluding tips.
“Restaurant delivery workers serve our city every day, in all weather conditions, only to earn less than minimum wage with no benefits,” DCWP commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga said in a statement. “This proposed minimum pay rate would help guarantee delivery workers a more dignified pay and rightfully establish pay equity with other workers who earn a minimum wage.”
The proposed rate, which would be finalized after a public hearing and consideration of public comments on Dec. 16, would be $17.87 when it takes effect and would increase to $23.82, adjusted for inflation, when it is fully phased-in on April 1, 2025. It must be paid to delivery workers based on trip time (time spent delivering) and on-call time (time spent connected to the app, waiting for a trip offer). The rate represents the sum of three parts:
- An earnings component ($19.86), which matches the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission’s (TLC) minimum earnings standard for ride-hail drivers.
- An expense component ($2.26), which reflects average expenses incurred by e-bike workers.
- A workers’ compensation component ($1.70), which reflects the workers’ compensation benefits that must be provided to comparable delivery workers.
U.S. Economy Adds 263,000 jobs in November
The United States economy added 263,000 jobs in November, slightly above what economists had projected, according to the Department of Labor’s jobs report released on Friday.
The unemployment rate remained at 3.7% and average hourly earnings grew 0.6% from October, which makes for a 5.1% increase year-over-year. Additionally, October’s payroll reading was upwardly revised to 284,000 from 261,000 previously reported.
“A stronger-than-expected jobs report illustrates the wage problem that the Federal Reserve is facing,” Independent Advisor Alliance Chief Investment Officer Chris Zaccarelli told Yahoo Finance. “Average hourly earnings continue to climb and that wage pressure, in conjunction with low unemployment, will keep inflationary pressures elevated.”
Leisure and hospitality, one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, continued a strong recovery, with 88,000 jobs added during the month, bringing the average this year to 82,000 monthly jobs added. That figure, however, is half of the average gain of 196,000 jobs per month in 2021, with unemployment in the sector at 980,000 — or 5.8% — below its pre-COVID level.
Jobs across healthcare rose by 45,000, while government saw a gain of 42,000 payrolls.
Meanwhile, the retail sector saw 30,000 jobs lost, with employment in the trade dropping by 62,000 since August. Transportation and warehousing jobs fell by 15,000 in November and by 38,000 since July.
Corporate America has also seen companies announce layoffs in droves, particularly in the technology sector, which has been grappling with robust overspending during the post-pandemic boom.
“Layoffs in the tech sector have garnered a lot of headlines in the last few months but this has not yet translated into a demonstrably weaker labor picture," Brendan Murphy, Insight Investment Head of Global Fixed Income, North America, told Yahoo Finance.
Workers in Belgium Can Now Switch to a Four-Day Week
As reported by Euronews, workers in Belgium now have the option to a four-day week. The regulation, which was drafted by the Belgian government in February, went into effect Nov. 21. This makes Belgium the first country in the European Union — and only the third in the world after Iceland and New Zealand — to formally introduce the four-day workweek as a choice for its workers.
Belgian workers who take up the four-day week option will have to work the same amount of hours across the week. All employees in Belgium, whether they work in the public or the private sector, will have the choice of working nine and a half hours a day over four days, or eight hours a day over five days.
When Prime Minister Alexander de Croo announced the new package of employment measures in February, he said he hoped the four-day workweek would make the Belgian labor market a little more flexible, according to Euronews.
“We have experienced two difficult years,” he said. “With this agreement, we set a beacon for an economy that is more innovative, sustainable and digital. The aim is to be able to make people and businesses stronger.”
Gallup: One in Four Workers Still Fear Catching COVID-19 at Work
According to Gallup’s latest COVID-19 tracking poll, about one in four employed adults still say they are “very” (6%) or “moderately” (20%) concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus at work, while a third are “not too concerned” and 41% are “not concerned at all.”
The poll was conducted by web Oct. 11-19 using the Gallup Panel. More than 3,700 adults completed the survey, including 1,174 adults employed full or part time by an employer.
The 26% of workers concerned today is down from 33% when Gallup last measured this in July and from 36% a year ago. The rate was highest in July 2020, when 51% of employees were concerned.
The poll also found concern about exposure to COVID-19 at work continued to be more pronounced among women, Democrats, education workers and healthcare workers, than it is among their counterparts. These groups have consistently shown the most concern about workplace exposure throughout the pandemic, and that continues today, despite the decline in concern over time among all groups.
Twenty-seven percent of on-site employees are concerned about contracting COVID-19 at work, similar to all employees nationally. The rate is slightly higher, at 31%, among hybrid workers, which may partly explain this group's reluctance to be in the office full time. Both groups' concern has diminished in the latest poll, but the decline was greater among on-site employees, falling from 35% concerned in July to 27% in October.
As of October, 48% of U.S. employees report being vaccinated and boosted to some extent (20% with the new booster, 28% with only an older one), and 19% have been vaccinated but not boosted. The remaining third are not vaccinated, although some of them (representing 10% of all employees) say they plan to be.
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