DoorDash still stalling on giving delivery workers their tips

It's been a month since the company's CEO promised to reverse course on a controversial policy that pockets workers' tips. Nothing appears to have changed.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

DoorDash has 400,000 delivery workers it refers to as "Dashers."


Nearly a month ago, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu promised to change the company's tipping policy for delivery workers and provide specific details "in the coming days." Those details still haven't been released. And the on-demand food delivery company's workers still don't appear to be getting tips.

Several current DoorDash workers said their pay and tips haven't changed since Xu's promise on July 23, according to Recode. The company also hasn't made any further public announcements.

"I'm surprised DoorDash still hasn't updated their tipping policy," said Harry Campbell, who runs a popular blog for gig workers called The Rideshare Guy. "It's one of the top complaints we're hearing from workers right now about the company." 

DoorDash didn't respond to request for comment.

The gig economy, which includes delivery companies like DoorDash, Instacart, Postmates and Grubhub and ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, has been under fire over the past few years for not doing enough to ensure worker protections. These companies' workers are classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. That means the workers aren't entitled to protections like minimum wage, sick days, Social Security, overtime and health care.

DoorDash's tipping controversy began earlier this year after it became known that the company had a policy that put customers' tips for delivery workers into its own pockets. The way it works is DoorDash pays delivery workers a base rate for each delivery. When a customer tips through the app, that money goes to the base rate instead of being tacked on top.

While the tipping policy has been in place since 2017, it wasn't until articles were published in The New York Times and NBC News that the uproar began. Customers called out DoorDash for reportedly tricking them into believing their tips were going to delivery workers. 

Instacart used to have a similar tipping policy, but changed it in February. DoorDash, however, defended its policy for several months. 

Finally, via a series of tweets in July, Xu announced the company was changing its policy. He referred to DoorDash's 400,000 delivery workers as "Dashers."

"It's clear from recent feedback that we didn't strike the right balance," Xu tweeted. "We thought we were doing the right thing by making Dashers whole when a customer left no tip. What we missed was that some customers who *did* tip would feel like their tip did not matter."

Xu added that "the new model will ensure that Dashers' earnings will increase by the exact amount a customer tips on every order."

Twenty-seven days later, however, that's yet to be seen.

Update: One day after this article published, DoorDash announced the specific changes it's making to its tipping policy. Under the company's new pay model, delivery workers will receive all tips customers add to their bills.

Originally published Aug. 21, 12:36 p.m. PT.
Update, Aug. 22: Adds information about DoorDash's announcement on the changes to its tipping policy.

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