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Home / WorldTech / DoorDash has been confusing its workers over payments for almost two years

DoorDash has been confusing its workers over payments for almost two years

Illustration: Jim Cooke (GMG)

This week, co-founder and CEO of the company, Tony Xu, appeared to be struggling with the startup's tipping model in a letter to FoodDoor's DoorDash employees. In the letter, Xu said the company was conducting surveys and roundtables with its employees, independent contractors, called dashers, about what they thought DoorDash should be better. Xu wrote that DoorDash had "heard of some people who expressed confusion about how wages were calculated and the consequences of gratuities."

The letter follows a controversy that became its proverbial few weeks ago after the company defended the payment system Turning point reached. One of them, where tips serve to increase workers' wages rather than completing them ̵

1; even when one of his competitors, who recently introduced a similar model, acknowledged their bad practice. Xu spoke to Bloomberg in February after completing a $ 400 million round of financing: "There was no reporting two years ago. But suddenly the coverage is covered by an experiment conducted by another company. "

DoorDash's wage model, in force since 2017, is still causing" confusion "among workers, and indeed even customers. A survey of interviews with four current and former Dashers and three former DoorDash employees, emails to the company's counterparts, marketing materials, screen grabs of a private Dasher group on Facebook, and screenshots of the platform itself paint a picture like a system confusing at first.

DoorDash, a $ 7.1 billion San Francisco-based delivery service, was founded in 2013 and includes Y Combinator and SoftBank Vision Fund as its supporters. According to research firm Edison Trends, it is currently the most reigning king for total consumer spending on grocery deliveries ahead of its rivals Uber Eats and Grubhub. Part of his recipe for success is likely to be his expanded range of restaurants, including fine city connections that boost spending, Edison co-founder Hetal Pandya told The Wall Street Journal.

An overarching critique of the so-called "gig-economy" of large-including services such as Uber and Amazon Flex-is that wages often do not carry the necessary labor costs, such as labor costs. As gasoline, vehicle payments and wear of the vehicles of the driver. In such jobs, the benefits do not always outweigh the wages or risks of labor – and that is not always clear to workers. DoorDash, however, seems to be particularly anxious to twist the truths about the reality of his ministry to promote his ambitions, especially in the news.

Prior to 2017, DoorDash's system in most of its markets was to pay a fixed rate per delivery, which varied depending on the city. During the course of 2016, Dasher's web site archived versions indicate that between $ 5-7 per stroke could be in San Diego, $ 8 per stroke in San Francisco, $ 6 per stroke in Seattle, or $ 5 per stroke in Manhattan , The company has maintained that drivers can retain 100 percent of their earned tips. (This is also the law.)

DoorDash announced it would announce the restructuring of its payment model in mid-2017, including emails about the change and interviews with DoorDash employees. Under this new model, the company presented Diehers with a guaranteed wage that they could earn per dash. Take, for example, a line that earns $ 8. DoorDash agreed to pay at least $ 1 in this amount. If a customer tipped less than the guaranteed amount, DoorDash indicated that it would make a "boost" payment to make up the difference to meet the promised wage. If a customer overturned the amount, DoorDash paid $ 1 and tips made up the rest of the profit. In other words, diehers can keep their tips, they also help offset the wages the company would otherwise have to pay its employees.

According to a former employee who worked in the company this spring, DoorDash ironed out the model and its news for months before revising its payment structure. In fact, Xu said in his email to the washers this week that the company had months of testing and interviewing thousands of Dasher before the rollout. The company had told employees internally that the new pay system should benefit the workforce, according to two company employees. When announcing the model at a meeting with all involved, one source said the company had "revised" the details, instead emphasizing the claim that Dasher was happier with it.

An e-mail about the rollout of a Dasher In the Northern California market, the new model in September 2017 called a "fairer" and "more transparent" compensation model. The company claimed that diehers could earn more and clarify how much they would earn in advance per punch. It also said that around 80 percent of workers preferred this new model. Immediately after launch, some speakers at Reddit complained that they made less per order under the new model despite the company's assurance that the workers could do more. And despite DoorDash's claim that the new system should be "more transparent," some calculations of guaranteed pay were unclear.

DoorDash claims that it calculates the guaranteed wage rate based on a variety of factors, including distance, travel time, size of the order, and whether the orderer must deliver the order to the restaurant or store. An already confusing payment system becomes even more complicated. The DoorDash app does not tell users how much a customer pays per order. This is indicated by several recent ads for the company that spoke to Gizmodo about the condition of anonymity to protect its jobs. And even if a hyphen looks like it could make a lot of money, it's possible that DoorDash's scrawny contribution of $ 1 in combination with the customer tip is not much more than the guaranteed interest rate of the Dash, like a previous Dasher versus Gizmodo explained. 19659004] "Sometimes you get one that looks good, and it looks like it's going to be profitable, but you do not get any real advice about what it's guaranteed. You can not really complain because they are guaranteed you and that's it, "said that person. "It just seemed like a kind of reverse business. Like they're mixing the deck behind the scenes, you know?

It's also hard for thieves to know where their money comes from. The company "makes it impossible for us to know how we get paid for each delivery," said a current Dasher. "They do not let us know how much the customer gives us tips, nor do they tell us how much DoorDash sets us apart from each delivery." Several Derhers said they talked directly to customers about how much they were up An order would have tipped to calculate how much was credited to their wages.

"If customers would only give cash, [DoorDash] would actually have to pay us a decent wage to deliver," he said.

Depending on the Market A "decent wage" is a bit of a fall from the roughly $ 20 an hour DoorDash is promoting in some areas. On Craigslist, the company apparently purposely uses clever phrasing to publish the apparent hourly rates. For example, a listing in early March for Diehers in the San Francisco Bay Area boasted that diehers could earn up to $ 21 or more per hour. An ad for Diehers in San Diego had a potential profit of $ 19 or more. Undersons, the company claimed, could earn up to $ 20 an hour in Seattle.

DoorDash employees working on the corporate side said the company had spent valuable care in managing its news. One former worker said this is particularly true of the language used on platforms like Craigslist to promote Diehers. This person claimed that when making headlines by using language like "up to", responsibility is shifted to how much the driver can earn appropriately per hour. These ads are said to be "tempting" and to motivate employees, even if the figures given are in the upper percentile of the average, which the average employee could expect. However, ads like these can cause confusion when employees see a thing in an ad and see something very different in their paychecks.

(DoorDash did not respond to several e-mails requesting a comment.)

Shannon Liss-Riordan, Worker A lawyer specializing in cases of misclassification of independent clients has more than a dozen employers from business such as Postmates, Lyft and other lawsuits, and recently reached a settlement with Uber of $ 20 million. In particular, Liss-Riordan has filed several lawsuits against DoorDash, including a misclassification of employees, which resulted in a $ 5 million settlement with the company in 2017. As part of the agreement, DoorDash revised some of its policies, including more transparency regarding the account deactivation and establishment of communication channels between Dashers and senior management.

Regarding Dasher's current payment system, Liss-Riordan said that while DoorDash is insincere, the company is not unlawful. Liss-Riordan said that the DoorDash model may violate labor laws, for example, if the company advertised it would pay $ 12 an hour plus tip. She added, "I think these companies are all very skilled and make sure they put the fine print somewhere where, as you know, we can set wages at our discretion."

In this week's letter to Xu, "DoorDash" continues [s] to hear from many of you that the model works: you know how much you get in advance, you get the guaranteed minimum, too if the customer does not tip, and US-Dashers received on average more than $ 17.50 per hour for one shipment in 2018. "

Typically, averages such as DoorDash can be misleading. According to a former corporate employee who knows how DoorDash sometimes calculates so-called "averages" for revenue, the company would use numbers from a small pool to represent a larger number of diehers in its ads. For example, according to that person, the company could look at data from a group of diehers in downtown San Francisco where profits are high, and use those numbers to represent the entirety of Northern California. These numbers could also be drawn from a period of months before, at a time when yields were particularly high.

DoorDash would certainly not be the first company to do this. Uber was forced to throw $ 20 million in 2017 to agree with the Federal Trade Commission about his own sketchy ads promoting the influx of potential profits. But even if the wages given by DoorDash correspond to someone who makes so much money, the number could miss out on the finest details, such as the time it takes to wait in their cars between orders or the time they get gas. These numbers can also omit costs for drivers such as gasoline and maintenance. A former Dasher claimed that his own calculations behind the envelope set the same gaps. Due to a lack of transparency, the worker can guess how exactly this hourly rate will be calculated.

"They do not count you as" working "if you have not received a delivery," said that person. "So, if you sign up for ten hours and receive a total of 15 deliveries, you could lose $ 125. But between the deliveries you sit around a lot and wait for the next delivery. For a total of 3 hours that time you did not work according to Doordash's assessment. So they can say that the average driver earns at least $ 17.50 per hour. Basically more creative arithmetic.

When Xu's email was shared about Reddit, others Dasher expressed that the figure he named was a dubious account of workers' income. Redditors speculated on various ways in which the company might have gotten that number, and suggested, like the former Dasher, that there might not be downtime. Others said it was almost certain that they were not spending anything on the Diehers. Some said that after taking into account gas and other expenses, they made less than the minimum wage.

Asked about the different pay models of these companies, Liss-Riordan told Gizmodo that all of these businesses are in business. "It's basically the same scam."

"It's a bit difficult to compare because they're all depriving workers of their employment and employment laws," she said. "It's hard to say that things are generally worse. But all of these companies, in my opinion, are breaking the law by not recognizing the employment status of the workers doing the work that makes them so successful. "

What's needed is an amendment to the Labor Code that specifies these employers. The basic pay can not be changed based on the amount of tips an employee earns," Liss-Riordan said. In early March, Recode confirmed that the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement has launched an investigation into the company's tipping policy. DoorDash could face fines and be forced to lay off workers if OLSE finds that it violates labor laws. OLSE Director Patrick Mulligan told Recode that the investigation could take months or years to come to a conclusion.

In the meantime, two Dasher who spoke to Gizmodo said that they are only advocating something better. They said they were only a few months away from opening their own business, and cutting was a temporary opportunity to earn a living while preparing for a major career adjustment. Another Dasher said they hoped to hope that a $ 2,500 Dasher remote transfer bonus would help rescue them from a difficult housing situation.

"I like to clench my teeth and pray to God that we will not be deactivated," they said. "We are counting on this money."

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