In a groundbreaking move, food delivery workers in New York City will soon enjoy a significant increase in their pay rates, with the introduction of a minimum wage. Mayor Eric Adams unveiled new regulations on Sunday, June 11, which will establish a minimum pay rate of $17.96 per hour for delivery workers starting from July 12. This rate will further increase to $19.96 by April 2025.
According to a press release from the city government, there are approximately 60,000 delivery workers in New York City who currently earn an average of $7.09 per hour. The introduction of the new pay floor, excluding tips, will nearly triple their average earnings.
Acknowledging the immense contributions made by delivery workers, Mayor Adams emphasized the importance of reciprocating their efforts. He stated, “Our delivery workers have consistently delivered for us — now, we are delivering for them. This new minimum pay rate, up by almost $13.00/hour, will guarantee these workers and their families can earn a living, access greater economic stability, and help keep our city’s legendary restaurant industry thriving.”
However, not all delivery app companies are supportive of the new policy. DoorDash expressed its dissatisfaction with the regulation and mentioned the possibility of pursuing legal action. Grubhub, on the other hand, warned of “serious adverse consequences” for delivery workers, while Uber Eats highlighted concerns about job losses, reduced tipping, and increased pressure on couriers to expedite deliveries and accept more trips.
The revised payment structure for NYC food delivery workers entails specific rates per minute of work. Those using apps that compensate workers during both waiting and delivery periods will receive $0.30 per minute, while those utilizing apps that only compensate during food deliveries will receive $0.50 per minute. The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) estimates that workers spend approximately 60% of their time on delivery trips, with the remaining 40% on standby.
During the pandemic, delivery workers played a vital role in New York City, ensuring the delivery of meals, groceries, and other essential items to people’s doorsteps. However, the crisis also highlighted the lack of fundamental labor protections for these app-based employees.
In response to these challenges, the Worker’s Justice Project (WJP), a worker center based in Brooklyn, commenced efforts to organize delivery workers and advocate for improved pay and working conditions. This initiative led to the formation of a group called Los Deliveristas Unidos.
Throughout the pandemic, the WJP, Deliveristas, and other activist organizations campaigned relentlessly, ultimately resulting in the passage of landmark legislation in October 2021. This legislation mandated the establishment of minimum wage protections for delivery workers in New York City.
In November, the Deliveristas staged a rally demanding a $30 per hour wage. While the municipal government initially proposed a rate of $24 per hour, it was subsequently reduced to the current level of $17.96 per hour in March. Nevertheless, the WJP, Deliveristas, and other activists are celebrating this significant achievement.
Ligia Guallpa, the executive director of WJP, expressed her satisfaction with the new regulations, stating, “This rule will set the pay floor for all the essential deliveristas who work tirelessly—whether through a pandemic, a snowstorm, or wildfire smoke—and who have been denied a living wage for far too long. Now, these workers who keep millions of New Yorkers fed will know they can keep their own families fed, too.”