DoorDash Gives Drivers an Extra $0.78 a Day for Working During Pandemic

The announcement was made in relation to a local ordinance in San Francisco that requires delivery drivers to disinfect high-touch surfaces in their vehicles and be compensated for doing so.
August 5, 2020, 3:48pm
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The food delivery app DoorDash is providing its gig workers in San Francisco an extra $0.78 per day for work done during the coronavirus pandemic.

In an email sent by the company to its Dashers, which are the independent contractors used by DoorDash to make food deliveries, the workers were informed they would be receiving an additional deposit of $0.78 per day for wiping down frequently touched surfaces in their vehicles. 

“For each day you complete at least one delivery in the CA: San Francisco Starting Point, you’ll receive an additional $0.78 daily deposit on top of your regular earnings,” the email read.

The deposit is in accordance with San Francisco’s “Emergency Ordinance - Grocery Store, Drug Store, Restaurant, and On-Demand Delivery Service Employee Protections” which among other things, requires that “On-Demand Delivery Services must require delivery drivers to regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces in their vehicles and compensate them for doing so.”

Delivery workers across the country have faced increased risks to their safety and health during the coronavirus pandemic, as they must choose between staying at home and not working or continuing to work despite the risks of being out in public.

In June, Seattle became the first city in the nation to approve legislation that would require gig economy workers to receive hazard pay during the pandemic. According to the bill, food delivery companies are required to provide their drivers with at least $2.50 in hazard pay for each delivery order completed in Seattle during the COVID-19 civil emergency.

A spokesperson for DoorDash told Motherboard in an email that the $0.78 daily deposit being offered in San Francisco is in response to San Francisco’s mandate, and meant to compensate workers for the few minutes needed to complete the required wipedown of vehicle surfaces.

“We’re committed to the health and well-being of our community and have taken action since the start of the pandemic to help protect Dashers who are on the frontlines, including providing millions of sets of free hand sanitizer, wipes, masks, and gloves, making deliveries no-contact by default, and providing two weeks of financial assistance to Dashers who are affected by COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.

Despite these efforts, the company has still faced criticism regarding some of its operations since the pandemic began.

As reported by Motherboard in April, some DoorDash drivers have said they have earned as little as just over $3 an hour during the pandemic—due to technical errors such as restaurants being listed as open when they are in fact closed, and the time lost due to navigating DoorDash’s support system.

“Offering drivers pennies is especially offensive in this election cycle, as DoorDash has already spent $30M on the Prop 22 campaign which would allow executives to continue to deny their drivers basic workplace protections,” said Shona Clarkson, an organizer with Gig Workers Rising, which works to support and educate app and platform workers.

DoorDash, along with other ride-hailing and delivery companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Postmates, have supported the “Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act”—or Proposition 22—which would keep the status of app-based drivers as independent contractors. Proposition 22 will be voted on in California in November.
Labor advocacy groups have argued the ballot measure would weaken labor protections for this group of workers.