The Gig Is Up - The new gig economy and the threat
22 March 2019
✚ T he proliferation of mobile payment platforms, combined with the trend-setting example of players such as Amazon, has led to an increase in the use of the subminimum wage among food prep and serving workers and threatens to spread the subminimum wage to retail and fast food establishments and to wholly unexpected sectors such as aviation. [...] Thus the more a worker earns in tips the less the employer is obligated to pay them.10 By enacting a tiered wage system, the gig economy has emulated the legacy of exclusion that has plagued the restaurant industry for over a century. [...] Eight of the fifteen lowest paid occupations are restaurant jobs and seven of the fifteen are tipped occupations.13 Tipped workers are subject to a two-tiered wage system where they are paid a subminimum wage, only $2.13 an hour at the federal level, with the majority of their income paid by the customer in tips. [...] at twice the rate of the general US workforce.17 When the sum of the dollar and the tip is less than the guaranteed amount DoorDash will provide a ‘pay Subminimum wages in the restaurant industry dispropor- boost’ to meet the guaranteed amount. [...] The more a user tips, the less the company pays, though the startup does affirm a commitment to at least pay a dollar on each job (the equivalent of 47 percent of the federal subminimum wage).36 Resembling the complexity and opaqueness of the restaurant subminimum wage model, delivery workers are left struggling to figure out if they have been paid all the income they are owned, as DoorDash does n.