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Seattle City Council Approves First US Law Protecting App-Based Workers from Unfair Deactivations

News on Wednesday, August 9, 2023.

The Seattle City Council has passed a law that provides protection for app-based workers against unfair deactivations.

An ordinance has been approved by the Seattle City Council which provides additional protections for app-based workers. This ordinance could safeguard app-based workers from being unfairly 'deactivated', a term used to describe the situation when someone is prevented from working on an app. The legislation applies to app-based workers that provide services like food delivery, pet sitting, or grocery shopping. Seattle is the first city in the US to protect gig workers from sudden 'deactivation'.

The newly enacted law aims to restrict the deactivation of app-based workers and safeguard them from arbitrary and inequitable measures. On Tuesday, the Seattle City Council endorsed legislation that will secure gig workers from abrupt exclusion from apps like Instacart or Uber Eats. The legislation pertains to app-based workers who undertake on-demand tasks, such as food delivery. As it seems, the Seattle City Council is the first in the country to guarantee these protections indefinitely.

Seattle and Washington state are at the forefront of the movement to shield self-reliant, gig-economy employees, including ride-hailing and food-delivery drivers. In March 2022, the State of Washington passed groundbreaking legislation that mandates gig companies to compensate workers with a minimum wage and essential benefits such as paid sick leave. In June 2020, the municipal authorities of Seattle approved a bill that provided temporary paid sick leave to gig workers for the duration of the city's state of emergency, caused by the pandemic.

This new legislation represents a crucial advancement for application-based employees not only in Seattle, but also throughout the US. The Seattle City Council has proactively approached protecting gig workers and guaranteeing their fair treatment. These measures are believed to have a notable influence on the gig economy and could potentially lead to other cities and states enacting equivalent laws.