Delivery workers have been the lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumer demand for essential goods ranging from basic groceries to medical supplies has sky rocketed. This has, made delivery workers more in demand and at-risk of infection. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new guidelines for the delivery workforce to ensure safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA is advising employers to:
• Encourage delivery workers to stay home if they are sick.
• Establish flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts) where feasible.
• Practice sensible social distancing and maintain six feet between co-workers where possible.
• Minimize interaction between drivers and customers by leaving deliveries at loading docks, doorsteps, or other locations that do not require person-to-person exposures.
• Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
• Promote personal hygiene. If delivery workers do not have access to soap and water for handwashing, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Provide tissues and disposable towels, as well as disinfectants, workers can use to clean work surfaces, including vehicle interiors.
• Allow delivery workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus.
• Discourage workers from using other workers’ tools and equipment.
• Use Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
• Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.
Given the increase in need for delivery workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, many delivery workers are working over 40 hours per week and are therefore entitled to overtime pay. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state labor laws, delivery workers should be paid at a rate of one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours they work over 40 in a workweek. For example, for a delivery driver paid $15.00 per hour, all hours that he/she works over 40 in a week should be paid at $22.50. Delivery workers are also entitled under the law to keep all tips that they receive from customers.
If you are a delivery driver and you believe you are being cheated out of your pay or if you believe you are a victim of wage theft, please call the attorneys at Pechman Law Group at the number 212-583-9500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights.