New York has implemented a new law making it mandatory for third-party food delivery apps to obtain a Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) licence in order to operate in the city.
The move was announced by New York Mayor Eric Adams and DCWP Commissioner Peter Hatch.
The law is expected to benefit food delivery workers as well as the restaurants that use such apps.
It is said to be the first part of a suite of new legislation that will regulate online third-party food delivery apps.
Mayor Adams said: “Delivery workers risked their lives and served as a lifeline to our city during the pandemic, despite them being denied basic worker protections.
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“With this legislation, we are taking a transformative step in protecting these essential workers, and also supporting our city’s restaurants, to ensure a fair and equitable recovery for all New Yorkers.”
The new legislation sets a cap on the fees that the apps can charge restaurants. A written agreement with the restaurant must also be executed before they are listed on the app.
Additionally, the new law makes it mandatory for the apps to inform workers of how much a customer paid in tips for each delivery, as well as the total pay and tips from the previous day.
Furthermore, if the app adds a phone number for a listed restaurant, it should always be a direct number.
Delivery workers for any app will also be entitled to increased rights from 22 April and 1 January 2023.
These will include allowing workers to set distance limits and list bridges or tunnels they are unwilling to use.
Under the new rules, third-party food delivery apps will also be required to notify food delivery workers about routes, pay and gratuities in advance, as well as pay delivery workers at least once a week.
Among the other requirements, food delivery workers will also have to be provided with a free insulated delivery bag after six deliveries.
Hatch said: “The food delivery industry boomed during the pandemic and we owe it to the tireless delivery workers who support New York City’s restaurants and residents to improve their working conditions and provide better protections.
“By licencing food delivery apps, we can now bring much-needed oversight and regulation to this expanding industry, which will greatly benefit not only these essential workers but the restaurants and consumers who use the apps as well.”
From 1 January 2023, the food delivery apps will have to pay a new minimum pay rate to delivery workers.
This will be set by New York City. The DCWP is currently conducting a study to determine the rate.