Grubhub employees react angrily to change in tip policy

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California workers at the food delivery app Grubhub have reacted angrily to changes to the platform that they say discourage tipping, saying they will erase the supposed benefits of the new worker rules in the city. the state.

Last month California passed Proposition 22, which, although far from the benefits enjoyed by full-time employees, has given a limited number of workers to odd jobs.

Weeks after the decision, Grubhub reduced its default tip amount from about 20 percent to zero, adding a suggestion to “leave an optional tip in addition to driver benefits.”

Like other apps, Grubhub added an additional “perk” charge, in its case $ 1.50, to every order in California – although that money is placed in a centralized pot that only a limited number of drivers would need to fully qualify for.

“ the benefits are not high enough to compensate for encouraging no-tip, ”a Grubhub employee wrote on Reddit.

“Such bullshit to drive that wedge between customers and drivers,” wrote another. A third added: “It’s scary. Really disappointing.

Under Proposition 22, workers receive a health allowance, provided they log at least an average of 15 hours per week on one of the gig apps. However, to be eligible, workers must already be the primary policyholder of an existing health care plan.

To obtain the full benefit, workers must devote at least 25 hours per week. Companies only count the time “committed”, not counting the periods spent driving without an assigned job – estimated at about a third of all the time spent on the road, according to a study by the University of California at Berkeley. No allowance is made for holidays or illness. The data shared by Uber suggested that about three-quarters of its own drivers would not meet this threshold.

Other benefits include a guaranteed minimum income rate, accident insurance, and $ 0.30 per mile for vehicle expenses. The measures were ridiculed as inadequate by worker groups, but the companies together argued that such a model was vital if workers were to maintain their flexible work models.

But a May study by the University of California at Santa Cruz found that “delivery people are particularly dependent on tips, which make up 30 percent of their estimated earnings.”

“I keep records,” said Jeanine, a Grubhub worker in the San Francisco Bay Area. “And there was a full flip. That’s wonderful.

She shared with the Financial Times a breakdown of her advice on the platform before and after the change. On two consecutive Saturdays, she placed the same number of orders – eight – but on the first Saturday, before the change, 100 percent of her customers left at least one small tip – totaling $ 61.03.

On the second Saturday, five of his eight customers left no tips, with the remainder totaling $ 24.71.

Responding to criticism of the new tip options, a spokesperson for Grubhub said, “Some customers in California may see this at checkout in addition to the driver benefit fee, and customers continue to have the option. to tip their driver, including through custom. cutting edge functionality. “

Proposal 22 gave workers “more stability,” the statement added.

Uber and DoorDash said last week that they would hike prices to fund the benefits of Proposition 22, though so far only Grubhub has made changes to its tipping system.

In June, it was announced that Grubhub would be acquired by European food delivery group Just Eat Takeaway in a deal worth $ 7.3 billion.

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