Shipt cuts pay for canceled grocery delivery orders, drawing complaints

Shipt cuts pay for canceled grocery delivery orders, drawing complaints

Shipt, a grocery delivery company owned by Target, has cut the pay it gives workers if orders are canceled, prompting complaints from shoppers who make its deliveries.

Starting Wednesday, Shipt began paying workers on canceled orders based on how much work they had completed on delivering the order, a spokesperson confirmed to The Hill. 

They’d get paid more, for example, if they’d picked up the groceries and were on the way to their destination when the order was canceled than if the order was canceled before they’d arrived at the grocery store.

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Previously, workers were paid a flat fee for canceled orders. Workers said the fee was usually between $10 and $20 per order, depending on the size of the order and the distance traveled, among other variables.

Now, some drivers say they’ve been paid as little as 29 cents for a canceled order. The Shipt List, a group of shoppers that work for the service across the country, told The Hill that over 70 people had reported similarly low payments.

The Shipt spokesperson told The Hill that the low fees were an error and that the company will now set a baseline payment of $5 dollars per canceled order. She also said the company will pay drivers $5 if they were previously paid a smaller amount for a canceled order.

The spokesperson acknowledged, however, that the change meant drivers would be paid less on average than previously for canceled orders.

Grocery delivery companies like Shipt have seen a spike in business during the coronavirus pandemic, which has provided workers with new opportunities to make money but has also put them at greater risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

Drivers say $5 for a canceled order still amounts to a significant pay cut, especially given that risk.

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“The $5 minimum is simply not enough,” said Willy Solis, an organizer at The Shipt List who delivers in Dallas and San Antonio, Texas.

The Shipt spokesperson said the company made the change to improve efficiency and save time for drivers. Previously, she said, the workers would have to call the company to get paid on a canceled order.

“All of this came from an effort to automate the canceled order pay process and save our shoppers some time and allow them the opportunity to get back out there and continue shopping instead of having to sit on the phone with support to ensure that they were paid for a canceled order,” the spokesperson said.

The company also says only between 1 percent and 1.5 percent of Shipt orders are canceled.

Workers also say they were not alerted about any change to Shipt's pay model.

“We rely on their communication with us,” Solis said. “And right now we don't have anything.”

The change to Shipt’s pay structure comes amid rising scrutiny on delivery companies amid the coronavirus crisis.

Shoppers at Instacart walked off their jobs and refused to take orders Monday, demanding hazard pay and more inclusive paid sick leave policies.

Workers at multiple Amazon warehouses have held strikes in the past week calling for facilities to be shut down and cleaned after workers tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The rapidly spreading disease has highlighted the precarious situation for gig workers, like the shoppers at Shipt and Instacart, who are classified as contractors and don’t receive employee benefits like guaranteed paid sick leave and the ability to apply for unemployment if fired.

Shipt has offered its workers two weeks of paid time off only if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or get a letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or state health officials telling them to self-quarantine.