The British Columbia government is introducing significant changes to improve the working conditions of gig workers in the ride-hailing and food-delivery sectors.
Under the new plan, these workers will have a minimum wage that’s 120% of the regular minimum wage. Right now, the minimum wage in British Columbia is $16.75/hour. After the new rules kick in, gig workers will be guaranteed a minimum of $20.1/hour.
This includes people working for Uber Eats, Instacart, SkipTheDishes, and similar businesses. It also covers drivers for Lyft, Coastal Rides, Whistle, and Uber.
It’s important to note that tips are not counted in this minimum wage, and there are more new rules besides just the pay increase.
The changes will happen once the government passes the laws and puts the new rules in place.
New Minimum Wage for Gig Workers
The new rules will be added to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Workers Compensation Act (WCA). Here’s a breakdown of the proposed rules:
- Minimum Wage Increase: The new regulations set a minimum wage for gig workers at 120% of the current provincial minimum wage, amounting to $20.10 per hour.
- Calculation Basis: This minimum wage applies to “engaged time,” which starts when a worker accepts a task and ends upon its completion.
- Exclusion of Wait Time: Time spent waiting between tasks is not considered in this calculation, explaining the 20% premium on the general minimum wage.
Additional Wage Protections
- Tips and Earnings: Tips are separate and not included in the minimum wage calculations. Additionally, if earnings become short of the minimum wage threshold in a pay period, companies must compensate for the difference.
- Protection of Tips: Platforms are prohibited from withholding or deducting tips from workers. The new regulations say that companies can’t take or keep any tips from the workers.
Expanding Worker Rights and Protections
An additional criterion will be set to cover costs incurred by workers using personal vehicles for work. The Ministry of Labour will talk to workers and companies to figure out what’s fair.
Companies will have to show workers how much they’ll earn for a task. They also need to give workers a statement every month showing they got paid right.
Companies must tell workers where they’ll pick up and drop off orders. Workers will know all pickup and delivery locations beforehand, helping in assessing the desirability and safety of tasks.
Suspensions and Firings:
Platforms must provide written notice and justification for suspensions or account terminations, along with a review process. Workers can appeal the decision, and the company has to explain its final decision.
Workers’ Compensation Coverage:
The expansion of WorkSafeBC coverage to include gig workers ensures compensation for work-related injuries. Companies must provide workers’ compensation coverage for ride-hailing and food-delivery workers.
If a worker gets hurt on the job, they’ll get compensation and help to get back to work.
New standards within the Employment Standards Act (ESA) will be tailored to preserve worker flexibility and address their primary concerns. These new regulations will apply to everyone in the business, whether they’re employees or independent contractors.
For now, some parts of the law won’t apply to this industry, but the government will continue to monitor areas such as working hours, statutory holidays, paid leave, and annual vacations.
The Scope of the Gig Economy in B.C.
Approximately 11,000 ride-hailing drivers and 27,000 food delivery workers operate in British Columbia.
There are 21 ride-hailing companies, including big ones like Uber and Lyft, and 7 food-delivery services, including Uber Eats and SkipTheDishes.
People are ordering food through apps a lot, with 32% of BC residents getting meals delivered every two weeks.
Addressing Worker Concerns and Enhancing Industry Stability
The government wants to make sure these jobs are fair and stable as the industry grows.
Workers like the flexibility, but they worry about not making enough money, getting fired without notice, and not having coverage if they get hurt at work.
After talking to workers, companies, and the public, the government came up with these solutions to address these concerns.