Seattle is at the forefront of gig worker protections Seattle’s City Council passed a novel bill last month making it harder for app-based delivery companies to suddenly kick workers off their platforms.


Seattle’s City Council recently passed a groundbreaking bill aimed at protecting gig workers from unfair account deactivations by app-based companies. The bill, expected to be signed by Mayor Bruce Harrell and going into effect in January 2025, is the first of its kind to address the issue of gig companies removing workers from their platforms without proper justification. This has been a long-standing concern for gig workers, who often struggle with account deactivations that they believe are unjust and difficult to contest, leading to financial losses.

The new law, known as the App-Based Worker Deactivation Rights Ordinance, not only addresses the issue of unfair deactivations but also strengthens Seattle's position as a leader in progressive gig worker protection laws. Rather than pursuing the reclassification of gig workers as employees, which has faced resistance from gig companies, Seattle is implementing protections typically awarded to traditional employees.

Seattle has been proactive in its efforts to protect gig workers. Earlier this year, the city enacted a law that provides most gig workers in the area with paid sick leave. Under this law, workers earn one day of sick time for every 30 days they make a work-related stop in Seattle. They are paid their average daily compensation for each calendar day they worked in the city over the past 12 months. This approach focuses on ensuring a healthy workforce and recognizes the importance of workers not having to choose between taking care of their health and meeting their financial needs.

The latest bill in Seattle does not cover rideshare drivers, as Washington State already has existing protections for workers in that sector. However, the new legislation extends these protections to other sectors and makes it more difficult for workers to be terminated from app-based delivery and service platforms like Instacart and Taskrabbit. Insufficient order volume alone will no longer be considered a valid reason for dismissal. Companies will also be required to provide a two-week termination notice, along with an explanation and evidence justifying the deactivation.

The bill has received support from gig workers who believe that it will bring reliability to their jobs and prevent homelessness and displacement. However, it has faced opposition from companies like DoorDash and Instacart, who have raised concerns about how the legislation may impact customer and merchant safety. Amendments were made to the bill to address these concerns, allowing for immediate deactivations in cases of threatening or abusive behavior and the anonymization of information that could compromise safety.

In summary, Seattle's new bill represents a significant step towards protecting gig workers from arbitrary account deactivations. By extending minimum protections to these workers, Seattle aims to ensure a healthier community and create a more equitable gig economy.  

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