NYTLC Passes Minimum Wage For TNC Drivers

Posted on December 5, 2018
TNC drivers will finally make a living wage (Photo via Flickr user Stock Catalog/www.quotecatalog.com)

TNC drivers will finally make a living wage (Photo via Flickr user Stock Catalog/www.quotecatalog.com)

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission voted Dec. 4 to establish a minimum wage for drivers working for companies like Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via. The city is the first in the US to set a minimum pay rate for app-based drivers. Going forward, the minimum pay will be set at $17.22 per hour after expenses, bringing it in line with the city's $15 per hour minimum wage for typical employees, which will take effect at the end of the year. The additional $2.22 takes into account contract drivers' payroll taxes and paid time off.

Engadget article here

NLA legislative and public relations head Scott Solombrino. (LCT file photo)

NLA legislative and public relations head Scott Solombrino. (LCT file photo)

From LCT: The minimum wage boost is a major victory for the luxury ground transportation industry, since it sets a floor for wage parity with chauffeurs and luxury drivers who are higher paid.

"This is a big win for the industry," said Scott Solombrino, board director who heads legislative and public relations efforts for the National Limousine Association. "It's a complete change of the TNC (transportation network company) business model. It will require Uber and Lyft to pay people at a level of compensation in the chauffeured transportation industry. It also raises their costs and forces them to pay for dead time."

The decision, while only applying to for-hire commerical vehicles registered with the NYTLC, could set both a legislative and legal precedent for other states and cities pursuing similar wage policies, said Solombrino, also the CEO of the Dav El/BostonCoach Chauffeured Transportation Network. "We think this could become a trend. We're going to other state legislatures and will try to duplicate what they've done and use New York as an example."

While the new policy helps level the playing field, Solombrino said, the NYTLC did not require TNCs to pay for workers comp, Obamacare requirements, unemployment insurance, and an array of federal taxes such as FICA and Medicare. Legal, licensed chauffeured transportation companies that classify chauffeurs as employees and own their fleets must comply with all of those rules.

"We're hoping at some point in time the (federal) Department of Labor will make a determination that the drivers are full-blown employees," he said. "The NLA has been fighting at the state and federal level for years for stronger enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)."

Solombrino mostly credited Uber and Lyft drivers for persuading the TLC to require the minimum wage. "We've been talking to the TLC about the unfairness of the issue for years, but they were pushed over the top by Uber drivers who've been campaigning for some kind of (wage) relief. The NLA congratulates Uber drivers for forcing the issue. This is a win for the workers in the TNC world."

In addition to the higher minimum wage, the TNCs must comply with a TLC requirement for fingerprint backround checks on drivers, a policy the NLA would like to see throughout the U.S. to protect  passengers from a barrage of criminal and inappropriate behavior among TNC drivers who are not adequately checked.

Solombrino anticipates the TNCs to legally challenge the minimum wage rule, but believes the TLC law was "passed on a sound legal basis."

--- Martin Romjue/LCT

Related Topics: driver pay, employee wages, labor laws, Lyft, New York operators, New York Taxi & Limousine Commission, TNCs, Uber

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