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Seattle’s Uber and Lyft drivers will get a minimum wage from next year

But Uber and Lyft say that it won't have the intended effect

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Regulators in Seattle have become the second US city to put legislation in place that should guarantee gig-working drivers for Uber and Lyft get paid a minimum wage.

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to ensure that Uber and Lyft drivers earn at least $16.39 per hour, which is the city’s legal minimum wage, GeekWire reports.

Seattle’s new legislation, which is reportedly modelled after similar rules in New York City, requires gig-working cab drivers to get an additional $0.56 per mile when a passenger is in their vehicle. This is on top of the per mile rate that’s used to cover expenses.

[Read: Uber to stay in London (for now) despite its long history of safety concerns]

It’ll be a while before drivers in the Pacific Northwest city see any improvements to their bottom line. The new rules are slated to come into effect on January 1, next year.

Both Uber and Seattle City Council hired their own researchers to investigate what a suitable minimum wage would be. As should have been expected, the two didn’t come to the same conclusion.

Uber also warned that New York should serve as a cautionary tale for Seattle. After the minimum wage for drivers was passed in NY, it led to increased fares and a drop in rider numbers.

However, Seattle authorities say that the minimum wage corrects the artificially low prices that Uber and Lyft benefit from. The minimum wage will also mean that fewer drivers can work at the same time, which may affect the ability of some to work and earn as much as they did before.

While Seattle is proud to have secured drivers a minimum wage, Uber and Lyft remain adamant that it might not have the intended effect and will follow New York City in making working conditions more challenging for drivers.

To find out what will happen, we’ll have to wait and see what drivers say about the legislation next year.

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Published September 30, 2020 — 08:55 UTC