By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff
New comprehensive Driver Income and Transparency Rules have been adopted that will increase the wages for Uber and similar for-hire drivers in New York City, according to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in a December 4 announcement. The rules are expected to significantly increase the earnings of more than 80,000 For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) drivers who work for large app companies, as well as providing other benefits for drivers across multiple sectors.
The passage of the rules follows a groundbreaking, TLC-commissioned report by the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs and the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley. The analysis found that 96% of high-volume FHV drivers earn less than $17.22 —the independent contractor equivalent of a $15 minimum wage. It also revealed that their median earnings declined more than 10% between 2016 and 2017. Analysis of driver expenses has also shown that drivers spend an average of $425 a week on the operation of their vehicles.
The rules set a per-minute and per-mile minimum trip payment formula, which the TLC anticipates will represent a raise to 96% of the 80,000 drivers who work for Uber, Lyft, Via, and Gett/Juno (the High Volume FHV service providers) in New York City.
While the companies themselves will be held responsible for ensuring they pay the driver at least the regulated minimum for each trip they dispatch, drivers will have an innovative resource to assist them in calculating the earnings owed them. The TLC has designed and will make available by December 6 a Driver Pay Calculator that will assist them in determining the earnings they are due.
To closely monitor the effects of the new policy, the TLC will begin to receive from high-volume FHV app companies detailed fare information, more extensive trip data, and data on passenger wait times.
Under the new rules:
- High volume FHV drivers will earn at a minimum a trip pay standard that is the equivalent of $27.86 per hour, or $17.22 per hour after expenses, the minimum wage standard for independent contractors, who pay additional payroll taxes and do not get paid time off.
- 96% of Uber, Lyft, Gett/Juno, and Via drivers in New York City will receive almost a $10,000 a year raise. They previously had no earnings or minimum wage protections.
- High volume FHV drivers will receive higher minimum pay for wheelchair accessible vehicles to account for the additional expense of operating these vehicles. The rules also set new minimum pay rates for out-of-town trips, where drivers spend greater time without a passenger while returning to New York City.
- Drivers will also receive detailed pay and deduction information, as well as lease information that is written in plain language, specifies all costs, and receipts that itemize all deductions and charges.
- More wheelchair accessible taxi owners will be able to receive payments of $14,000 a year when a car is put on the road, and then $4,000 a year while in service. The TLC recently doubled payments to wheelchair accessible taxi drivers per trip. A typical accessible taxi driver now earns an additional $1,700 a year.
- The rules reduce the maximum amount that taxi fleets can charge drivers for credit card processing, saving the average fleet driver $1000 a year.
These new rules are expected to be in effect as of mid-January 2019.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was created in 1971, and is the agency responsible for the regulation and licensing of almost 300,000 yellow medallion taxicabs and for-hire vehicles, their drivers, and the businesses that operate and support them. It is recognized as the largest and most active taxi and For-Hire Vehicle regulatory body in the United States. (New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission Press Release, December 4, 2018.)
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