Workers in app-based ride-hailing and food-delivery gigs will soon have better working circumstances, including fundamental employment norms, thanks to new regulations.
As per the new proposed guidelines, the new minimum wage for these gig workers will be set at 120% of the provincial minimum wage.
This includes food delivery workers for Uber Eats, Instacart, SkipTheDishes, and other similar businesses, as well as passenger rides on Lyft, Coastal Rides, Whistle, and Uber.
Tips are not part of this minimum wage proposal and there are a lot more proposed new guidelines apart from the new minimum wage.
The modifications will take effect after legislation is passed and new regulations are established.
How will this new minimum wage work?
The new guidelines, after approval, will be implemented by amending the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Workers Compensation Act (WCA).
Below are all the proposed employment rules, including rights for ride-hailing and food-delivery workers.
- Minimum wage: Setting a minimum earnings requirement of 120% of the general minimum wage in British Columbia (currently $16.75) and applying it to engaged time
- Engaged time begins when a worker accepts a task and ends when the assignment is completed.
- The time spent waiting between assignments is not included as engaged time. This is the reasoning behind the 20% premium.
- When the earnings paid in a pay period do not match the minimum earnings threshold for the engaged time worked, platform businesses will make up the shortfall.
- Tips are not factored into the minimum wage calculation.
- Tip safeguards: Platform firms would be prohibited from withholding or deducting tips.
More New Guidelines Coming for Gig Workers in B.C.?
- Expenses: Creating an additional remuneration criterion to account for the costs that employees spend when driving a personal vehicle for work purposes.
- To define an acceptable compensation standard, the Ministry of Labour will communicate with workers, platform firms, and others.
- Transparency in pay: making certain that when platform firms assign a task to a worker, that worker can see the earnings for completing the task.
- Platform companies will also be required to provide wage statements to employees at the end of each pay month so that employees may confirm they are being paid correctly.
- Transparency of destination: Platform providers must provide all pickup and delivery locations for each assignment.
- Workers will be able to evaluate the desirability and safety of assignments before accepting them.
- Suspensions and dismissals: Platform firms will be forced to notify employees in writing of the cause of their account suspension or deletion.
- Platform firms must also provide a review procedure that allows employees to present their case as well as supporting documentation.
- Companies must submit a written explanation of their final decision in response to a review.
- Platform companies will be forced to provide written notice or compensation for the duration of service if they choose to terminate a worker’s account, unless the termination is justified.
- Coverage for workers’ compensation: WorkSafeBC’s workers’ compensation coverage will be expanded to ride-hailing and food-delivery workers.
- Workers who sustain work-related injuries will be entitled to workers’ compensation payments, including vocational rehabilitation services.
- Platform firms will be in charge of:
- enrolling for coverage with WorkSafeBC and paying premiums;
- following health and safety standards to keep workers safe;
- reporting injuries and diseases; and
- investigating significant events.
The above-mentioned safeguards and regulations will subsequently apply to all workers in the business, regardless of whether they are legally classified as employees or independent contractors.
Alternate standards for this industry will be devised inside the ESA to safeguard the flexibility that workers value and address their top goals, although some of the Act’s present provisions will not apply at this time.
Further Areas To Watch
Standards for ride-hailing and food-delivery workers will not be created under the ESA at this time, but the government will continue to watch these areas:
- Working hours and overtime
- statutory holidays;
- paid leave, and
- annual vacation
How Big Is the Ride-Hailing and Food-Delivery Industry?
Those who transport food or other commodities via an app that matches consumer orders with a delivery courier are classified as app-based food-delivery workers.
According to government estimates, there are currently approximately 11,000 ride-hailing drivers and 27,000 food delivery workers in British Columbia.
In British Columbia, 21 ride-hailing firms are permitted to operate, including multinational corporations such as Uber and Lyft, as well as locally owned and operated businesses such as Coastal Rides and Whistle!
In British Columbia, there are seven food-delivery systems in operation, including Uber Eats, Instacart, SkipTheDishes, DoorDash, and Fantuan.
According to the Research Co. research COVID-19 Impacts Dining Behaviours Across British Columbia (February 2021), 32% of B.C. residents reported having meals delivered to their homes at least once every two weeks.
Need for these new guidelines
With the new B.C. proposed guidelines, the province is taking measures to ensure justice and stability for these types of jobs as the sector expands.
Workers appreciate the flexibility of this work, but many have expressed worries about
- poor and unpredictable income,
- being fired without notice, and
- not having workers’ compensation coverage if injured on the job.
After thorough consultation with app-based workers, platform businesses, labour organizations, business associations, the public, and others, these solutions are aimed at answering the workers’ concerns.
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