Grace Deng

(Washington State Standard) More than 15,000 Lyft drivers were paid less than required under new pay standards Washington enacted this year for the app-based ride-booking sector, a recent investigation by the state Department of Labor & Industries found.

After state officials contacted Lyft, the company conducted a self-audit and determined it owed nearly $193,000 in back pay to drivers.

The findings come about six months after a new state law went into effect establishing minimum pay and other protections for the drivers. The law ensures drivers earn at least $1.17 per mile or $0.34 per minute when transporting passengers, as well as a minimum of $3 per trip. In large cities, such as Seattle, the minimums are $1.38 per mile, $0.59 per minute and $5.17 per trip.

Lyft said in a statement to the Standard that the company supports the state’s minimum pay requirements.

“A technical error led to minor pay discrepancies for certain drivers in Washington,” a spokesperson for Lyft said. “Lyft corrected this issue, and those drivers have all now received the correct payment.”

As of late June, the Department of Labor & Industries said it has received 45 complaints from drivers for so-called “transportation network companies,” like Lyft and Uber.

Three of those complaints came from Lyft drivers who said they were underpaid for trips outside of Seattle, leading to the state inquiry that resulted in the company paying the back wages.

“The law was enacted to make sure rideshare drivers in our state are paid fairly, and this case shows it’s working,” Celeste Monahan, assistant director of Labor & Industries’ Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards division, said in a statement. “When we contacted Lyft, they did the right thing.”

The state is currently investigating 13 other complaints.