The national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not changed in a decade, and there is widespread agreement that it is far below what constitutes a living wage anyway. As if the statistics on the federal minimum wage weren’t dismal enough, leave it to Silicon Valley to figure out “innovative” ways to pay workers even less. A new, in-depth quantitative study released this week, as part of a worker campaign in collaboration with the worker rights non-profit Working Washington, found that contract delivery workers for food delivery company DoorDash earn $1.45 per hour on average, after other expenses are accounted for.
DoorDash is an on-demand prepared food delivery service. The basic premise is that the compay’s contract delivery drivers, or “Dashers,” deliver food to customers who order on the mobile app. Similar to Uber drivers or TaskRabbit workers, the company advertises that, by becoming a Dasher, you can “be your own boss” and “enjoy the flexibility of choosing when, where, and how much you earn.”
Working Washington crunched pay data from 229 delivery jobs from Dashers around the United States, and found that the workers were making an average of $1.45 an hour, after taking into account the costs of mileage, additional payroll taxes that add up for independent contractors, and the lost work time as workers wait for the next job. All of the data was from November and December 2019, after the company implemented a new pay model. The estimates made in the study don’t take into account the cost of paying for public insurance benefits. They only factor in work expenses beyond mileage and payroll taxes — which means the real wages may be even more depressing.