Drivers who deliver food from New York City restaurants will now be entitled to use customer restrooms from restaurants when they’re picking up food. Beginning January 31, the drivers for app-based delivery companies like UberEats, Grubhub, and others will no longer have to resort to the indignity of relieving themselves between parked cars and risking possible arrest and fines.

The new rules, approved by the New York City Council gives the drivers that simple human right to take care of nature’s necessities during their working day. Many restaurants had previously refused to allow them to use the restrooms. The rules come after a campaign waged by Los Deliveristas Unidos, a labor group representing thousands of delivery workers. The effort gained the support of prominent political figures like NY Senator Chuck Schumer, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, City Comptroller Brad Lander and several City Council members who introduced the bill. They were present at a Times Square rally January 23 where workers celebrated their new protections.

A large portion of them are immigrant workers from countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Mali and others, who historically have been among the most heavily exploited.

More Transparency Over Their Earnings

Among other gains they have received as a result of the new rules are greater transparency from the companies over their earnings, much of which is in tips, usually added onto credit cards customers use to pay for their meals. Workers have complained that companies have dishonestly withheld some of their tips from them. Companies will now be required to disclose how much the customer tips for each delivery and pay drivers at least once a week The city will also set a new minimum pay rate for basic wages. A majority of the drivers earn only $7.87 an hour before tips, far lower than the city’s $15 minimum wage. After tips, their earnings still amount to only $12 an hour. Discussions are currently under way between the Department of Consumer and Worker Protections and representatives of the drivers on the ways to enforce these rules.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez hailed  the development as “expanding the quality of life for people, particularly those who make a living through all of these apps” and expressed the hope that it would become “a launching point for growth in workers rights and greater dignity for workers across the state and across the country.”

The City, 1/23; Portside, 1/28