Governor Jay Inslee of Washington signed a minimum wage requirement for Uber and Lyft drivers into law on Thursday, making Washington the first state in the United States to do so, Reuters informs.
Drivers in the Northwestern state will be paid at least $1.17 per mile and 34 cents per minute, with a minimum trip wage of $3.00.
Drivers will also be eligible for paid sick time, family medical leave, and long-term care programs under the new law, as well as workers’ compensation, a federally required program that pays benefits to employees who are injured or ill on the job. If drivers are removed from the applications, they will be able to appeal.
Drivers in Seattle, which enacted its own ride-hailing pay standard in September 2020, will continue to receive $1.38 per mile and 59 cents per minute, for a total of $5.17 each trip.
The bill, which is backed by Uber and Lyft, strips towns and counties of their regulatory authority, making it impossible for them to impose extra restrictions on businesses.
The rule also stipulates that ride-hailing drivers are not workers, which has been a point of contention between labor unions and corporations like Uber and Lyft.
Gig businesses, whose workers are classified as independent contractors, are opposed to any reclassification, while labor organizations contend that drivers should be classified as employees with more benefits.
Teamsters Local 117, which also pushed for the Seattle wage norm, backed the new Washington law.
Only Seattle and New York City had set minimum wage criteria for ride-hailing drivers prior to the passage of this law.