As gig workers, whenever we hear “new pay structure,” we all get that gut-sinking feeling, wondering what the new changes will be and just how impacted our earnings will be. This time, the new pay structure announcement is coming from Shipt, a grocery delivery service similar to Instacart.
Near the end of 2019 Shipt instituted a new pay structure in a limited number of markets, and they are planning on releasing it in more metro areas this week. Let’s look into why Shipt workers are planning a protest on Wednesday, July 15—against the new pay structure.
Shipt’s New Pay Structure: Now “Effort-Based”
Workers in the markets where it has already been implemented are saying that they are receiving a decrease in pay by about 40-50%.
That is a significant number, especially if people are counting on this income to earn a living, and even more especially in this new world of consumers doing most of their shopping from home.
Part of the issue Shipt shoppers have with the new model is how it’s less transparent. The new pay structure is “effort based” rather than based on the “order value.” What does this mean?
In a post on Shipt’s shopper website, they say:
“This updated pay model takes into account the many factors, such as estimated drive time, the number of items in the order, peak shopping windows and location, that can affect the effort needed to shop and deliver an order. Orders that seem similar at first may actually be very different experiences. Here are a couple of examples:
- You could have two orders that each total $100. But one of those orders is for a single item, while the other order contains 30 items. Shopping for 30 items takes more effort than one, so the updated pay model would take that into account.
- An order with a 15-minute drive in a busy metro area during rush hour is likely to pay more than a similar sized order with a 2-minute delivery drive during a quieter shopping time. Since the first order likely requires more effort to complete, pay for that order will reflect that – you’re spending more time in the car, so we want you to be compensated accordingly!”
Previously, pay has been based on the total retail cost of the order plus a flat rate per order. It was easy for workers to understand and see exactly what they would be paid.
How Will This Affect Shipt Shoppers?
Shipt claims that there should not be a significant difference in total pay a shopper will receive on a regular basis. However, shoppers that have worked under this new model since last year disagree.
In a recent article about this Shipt walk-out, Jeanine Meisner, a shopper in the Kalamazoo, Michigan area said, “With the new pay scale I felt like I was basically working for free.”
Here’s a look at the new structure as outlined above from an image Shipt posted on their webpost:
The website goes on to say, “There isn’t a formula that can be shared. Each metro has unique characteristics that can affect the shopping experience. Shipt aims to provide compensation in each metro that is market competitive, which means similar orders in size and estimated drive time may pay out differently in various areas of the country.”
Some Shipt workers will be taking advantage of promos that are likely to spike during the strike. On Reddit, one user said, “If it’s true, sorry but I need money and will take advantage of the promos again. I made over $200 in a day on the last strike.”
One Shipt worker on Reddit thinks the payment being based on effort sounds promising. Another stated, “I like the idea behind that, but for me it’s hard to have faith in a new system if they aren’t willing to be transparent about it. V1 [Verision 1] pay may not fully account for the effort put into different orders, but at least I know exactly how much I should be making with it.”
As someone who needs to earn a living, it’s easy to see a strike as a means for you to earn more because others are off protesting. But it shows Shipt that they can do whatever they want to a worker’s pay without consequence.
One way to help get the voices of Shipt workers heard is to participate in the walk off.
If you are a Shipt worker, you can choose to refuse orders on Wednesday. If you currently use Shipt as a consumer, don’t shop on July 15th. Send Shipt a message that their new pay structure is negatively impacting gig workers.
Readers, if you drive for Shipt, have you noticed a decrease or increase in pay? Do you plan on participating in the walkout on July 15th as a Shipt shopper or customer?
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-Paula @ RSG