RSG190: Guaranteed Minimum Pay in Seattle

Guaranteed minimum pay, driver sick pay, and more – sounds like a new driver-friendly rideshare company, right? Nope – it’s happening today for drivers in Seattle! How did these initiatives come to be, why did Seattle spearhead them, and what can other cities learn from Seattle? I chat with Kerem Levitas and Laine Middaugh from the City of Seattle about all of this and more!

Listen to this episode on your phone here.

Intro to Kerem Levitas and Laine Middaugh

  • Kerem Levitas serves as a Strategic Advisor/Policy Analyst at the Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS)
  • His recent policy focus has been on labor standards development for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft
  • Laine Middaugh is a Policy Analyst/Strategic Advisor in the City of Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards, where she helps to implement the City’s TNC Deactivation Rights Ordinance covering Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle

Why Did Seattle Decide to Tackle Driver Concerns?

  • Feedback from drivers
  • Need to balance policy decisions with real life and driver feedback
  • Number of agencies involved with regulation
  • Many drivers couldn’t find resolution elsewhere

Driver Resolution Center

  • Drivers regularly reach out – no way to argue against an unfair deactivation
  • Drivers don’t know why they were deactivated
  • Deactivation Rights Ordinance – prohibits unwarranted deactivation
  • Investigation, policy applied fairly, notice provided

How is it Going So Far?

  • Demand surpassed expectations!
  • In the early stages and want to come back in a year to share more!
  • Plan to grow – driver education, too
  • Funded by per-ride tax


  • Less fluctuation and better ability to plan
  • Plan earnings, plan schedules, etc.
  • Able to take off if they or their loved ones get sick
  • Pay and deactivation were the most important to drivers

What’s Next?

  • Making sure everything is working properly!
  • Figuring out what has changed, what’s still the same
  • Driver feedback – what are we still missing?


  • Big thanks to Kerem and Laine for coming on the podcast and sharing what Seattle is doing to help gig workers
  • Can’t wait to follow up with them next year and see how it’s going

Show Notes