Uber drivers make about as much money as minimum wage workers. Sometimes, they make even less.
That’s because drivers of ride-hailing apps are considered independent contractors, and, unlike employees, aren’t protected under federal, state, and local minimum wage laws.
That’s about to change, however — thanks in no small part to a report co-authored by James A. Parrott, fiscal policy director the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School and Michael Reich, co-chair of the Center for Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley.
The report — which highlights the need for and effects of the Taxi and Limousine’s Commission’s proposed minimum driver pay standard — influenced the New York City Council’s decision to pass a package of bills that, for the first time ever, will set a wage floor for Uber drivers and their peers in the ride-hail industry.
“The data are clear: drivers in NYC’s rapidly growing gig economy are struggling,” Parrott says. “The wage standard will be life-changing for one of NYC’s fastest growing workforces, and a plus to the city’s overall economy.”
In New York City, Uber drivers earned a median net hourly wage of $14.17 and Lyft drivers of $13.85 during a week in October 2017, according to research by Parrott and Reich. Bumping that up to $17.22 would represent an increase of at least 22 percent for half of the city’s Uber drivers, and 24 percent for half of the city’s Lyft drivers.