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Walmart to pay nearly $190K after investigation into possible gig worker violations

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(The Center Square) – Retail giant Walmart has agreed to pay nearly $190,000 following an investigation into possible violations of gig and app-based worker laws.

The Seattle Office of Labor Standards alleged that Walmart failed to provide premium pay and a notice of rights to gig workers in violation of the temporary Gig Worker Premium Pay Ordinance.

The company also allegedly failed to establish an accessible paid sick and safe time system for gig workers to use, provide gig workers with a monthly notice of paid sick and safe time information, provide a notice of rights, and provide a written paid sick and safe time policy.

Walmart and the Office of Labor Standards reached an agreement with the company to pay total financial remedies of approximately $170,768 to 474 workers and $18,693 to the City of Seattle.

The Gig Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and allowed workers to accrue paid sick time. The temporary ordinance applied to gig workers of food delivery network companies such as Walmart, as well as transportation network companies with more than 250 gig workers worldwide.

Food delivery network company workers were no longer covered by the ordinance last year, but are now covered by the App-Based Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance that permanently implemented the rights and obligations under the temporary gig worker ordinance.

The App-Based Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance allows app-based workers to accrue one day of paid sick and safe time for every 30 days with at least one work-related stop in Seattle. This can include shopping at a store or making a delivery within city limits.

The Center Square previously reported on the implementation and enforcement of the App-Based Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance costing $148,000 in ongoing annual costs.

Steven Marchese – the director of the Office of Labor Standards – said Walmart is legally required to comply with the Seattle law to properly inform its employees of the paid sick time benefits and the opportunities for them to utilize them.

“When companies do not do so it not only compromises the dignity of gig and app-based workers, but it also undermines confidence in the regulatory structure the city created to enforce fair labor practices,” Marchese said in a news release.