Amazon at times used Flex drivers' tips to cover promised base pay, investigation finds


I don’t grasp this at all…I’m pretty much never at home when stuff gets delivered.


0 voters


If Amazon has a committed payment schedule for deliveries, and tips are on top of that, then isn’t Amazon literally stealing from their drivers by not fulfilling that portion of the agreed payment schedule? Isn’t this breach of contract, if not outright illegal? I can hear the lawyers galloping down the street now!


I do not quite understand the general outrage here. I agree it is shitty, but this is not uncommon at all in the wage world.

That is how restaurant employee’s are compensated as well in Michigan.

The minimum wage for servers is something like 2.83/hr and then + tips, they are guaranteed whatever the actual minimum wage is, like 8/hr.

So if 2.83 / hour + tips does not equal 8/hr, the restaurant would make up the difference, so of course the tips are used as part of the amount to determine how much add to get to 8/hr.

Its the law, it works that way. I guess the restaurant could ignore the tips and just pay them 8/hr, but none do that I know of.


It is hard to tip them, if you only see them as they back out of the driveway and knock over your rural mailbox across the street.


Nuts, I can’t change my answer. (although I suspect it wasn’t supposed to be a poll at all…)


That’s my understanding of how tipped employees are supposed to get paid as well. in practice, not so much.


Let me explain it…

Oh, you do understand. Carry on.


Umm, if people actually tip the drivers, are they really doing it via some app or Amazon website with a credit card? Really? How else does Amazon get to even know there was a tip, let alone how much and that they can use it? Surely anyone tipping a driver (and yeah, it was a real revelation to me, too) would use cash, and it would go straight into the driver’s pocket.

Maybe that’s what the tip is for - that they actually rang the bell and hung around for the door to be answered. Rarely happens round here.


Actually, I do not understand the outrage here, about this case, in this context.

If no one is outraged tips are used to meet the minimum payment requirements for the service industry, why are they outraged about the exact same thing being done in this case?

I mean, those of us who support fair and living wages have been outraged about the service industry practices for a long time, but no one else has been. No huge coverage and public outcry and a reversal of policy.

Perhaps there is not enough public awareness about the shit that servers, a huge percentage of the workforce, have to put up with, including mandated use of tips to make sure they meet minimum hourly wage requirements.

I’d love to see more folks get pissed about everywhere this works. I am glad in this case, the practice stopped. I would love to know how others might build on this outrage to see where similar shitty practices, in this case, exactly the same shitty practice, are standard and help get that fixed too.

ETA: Note below, the practice as we do it in Michigan by law, is illegal in CA, which would help explain the outrage in this case. if it is related to CA somehow.


The basic rule of tips is that they belong to the employee, not the employer. Under California law, an employer cannot take any part of a tip that’s left for an employee. This means that you can’t be forced to share your tips with the owners, managers, or supervisors of the business (who are all considered to be the agents of the employer).

Your employer also can’t count your tips towards its minimum wage obligations. In most other states, employers may pay employees less than the minimum wage, as long as the employees earn enough in tips to make up the difference (called a “tip credit”). However, California does not allow employers to take tip credits. Employers must pay employees at least the California minimum wage for each hour worked, in addition to any tips they may receive. (You can find the current minimum wage in our article on California wage and hour laws.)


Wow, ya, exactly, how do we get CA laws across the country. Maybe this incident helps accomplish that, for example, I had never heard of the CA law as I live in other states.

Thank you for the link.


Judging by previous topics about tipping, you’ll find plenty of people here who are as outraged about the practice as you could wish.

Here are a couple:

And some (thankfully few) who think it’s just fine and dandy because paying service staff would just make them all surly instead of appropriately fawning. Hey ho…

This is one instance of a company doing a shitty thing. People are entitled to get annoyed about that shitty thing without necessarily bringing up how annoyed they are about other employers doing the same shitty thing.


I must not be expressing myself well because you seem to miss my point entirely. I apologize for that as I can not really think of how to make it more clear.


Not that I want to be defending this bullshit, but if this is what the drivers agreed to:

“Our pay commitment to delivery partners has not changed since we launched the Amazon Flex program — delivery partners still earn $18-25 per hour, including 100% of tips — and on average drivers earn over $20/hour,”

Then the key word is “including” and not “plus”. If it were “plus” then they would get their $18-$25 base pay plus whatever tips they were given.

By saying “including” it gives Amazon the option of adding up the tips, and then subtracting the part they pay until what the driver will be getting falls within $18-$25.

… and on average drivers earn over $20/hour,”

And driver Jeff Lee nailed it:

“They just hide behind the fact that they guarantee $18 [an hour],” said driver Jeff Lee. “Sounds great but that $18 [an hour] guarantee could be all from customer tips while Amazon chips in zero.”

Good points, however first off delivery drivers surely aren’t classified as servers, are they?

On top of that, in the restaurant biz, if the server’s tips exceed the $8/hr minimum wage amount, do the restaurants then pocket the $2.83?

If they do, that’s still morally wrong IMO (fwtw) and should be illegal.

Normally, I would think no, however the Amazon Flex Driver program seems to be targeting people with free time and cars. Like Uber for objects.

These drivers might take the added step of knocking on doors, and handing over the packages, instead of just dropping them off by the house and leaving. Then, face to face, tipping might enter into it, like with any other delivery service.

Personally, I haven’t had this happen. What has happened just recently is something I ordered the night before was waiting on my porch the next morning. And the delivery person took a photo of the package on the porch, and I got a text alert saying it had been delivered along with the photo. It was weird.


No, I apologise if I’ve misunderstood you…

There, now we’ve all established that it’s not just Brits and Canadians who excessively apologise - unless of course you’re Canadian…


Ya, I get all that, but don’t they also state the compensation for each delivery? Or is that wrapped up in the same mealy-mouthed horse crap legalese?


Of course what has now been ruled legal is for the restaurant owners to pool the tips in a way that makes busboys “tipped workers” so that they also get paid a sub-minimum wage.


I don’t know. I didn’t dive that deeply into it to see what sets the range between $18 and $25. But I think…

… would be quite likely.

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