Seattle to require minimum wage for Uber, Lyft drivers

Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle are expected to make the same $16.39 an hour minimum wage as other workers in the city following a vote by city officials supporting new regulations.

The Seattle City Council unanimously voted Tuesday on the new pay formula that requires ride-hailing companies to increase pay for drivers to account for multiple expenses and for the time drivers spend in transition from one ride to the next and waiting for passengers, The Seattle Times reported.

Ride-hailing companies have previously argued against that the drivers are considered independent contractors and because of that work without basic guarantees like minimum wage.

Some drivers have also argued against the proposed regulations, fearing the companies will respond how they did in New York where they stopped hiring new drivers and restricted drivers’ access to their apps. Others have raised concerns about long hours for low pay.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan proposed the regulations, which set new per-mile and per-minute rates for drivers and require drivers to receive a minimum of $5 per trip. The rules are scheduled to take effect in January.

“The legislation before you has the possibility to be as impactful as the $15 minimum wage,” Drivers Union member Don Creery said. The union has supported the legislation.

The legislation assumes a costs per driver including about $8,000 a year for vehicle costs, $2,000 a year for maintenance, $1,600 a year in cell phone costs and $3,800 a year for insurance.