Amazon will no longer use tips to pay delivery drivers’ base salaries

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon has announced that it’ll be ending its practice of using customer tips to pay its Flex drivers’ wages, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times and and confirmed by The Verge.

The practice came under fire when it was revealed back in February that Amazon (along with other delivery services like Instacart and DoorDash) were using customer tips to pay delivery drivers their base pay, letting the corporations in question save money at the expense of compensating their workers.

Now, Amazon confirms that the initial minimum payment for each delivery will come entirely from Amazon, with driver’s tips going directly to the driver on top of that — i.e., the almost universally understood intent of how tips should work in the first place, where they’re a bonus for a specific person on top of their base pay from the company for which they work.

“Amazon will always contribute at least $15 per scheduled hour to driver pay, and often more, based on location and demand,” says Amazon spokesperson Rena Lunak. “As always, for deliveries with tipping opportunities, drivers will receive 100% of the tips.” The difference now is that the tips will be in addition to that base pay, instead of being part of it. The new payment policy is set to start today, the company confirmed.

In an email to The Verge, Amazon clarified that it would be contributing a minimum of “at least $15-$19 per scheduled hour, depending on location,” — seemingly down from the original promise of $18 to $25 that Amazon Flex’s site used to offer, although it’s unclear how much of that old number came from Amazon and how much was from worker’s tips. For its part, Amazon does say that it’s “raising” its minimum contribution to those new numbers, which would imply that it previously contributed less than $15 an hour before — again, depending on the location. Amazon declined to say what its minimum contribution was previously.

Additionally, Amazon is updating its app for drivers to more transparently break down payments for each delivery, showing clearly what portion of their pay will come from Amazon and what portion is coming from a tip.

Image: LA Times

The news comes after DoorDash was revealed to still be using tips to pay workers’ base earlier this week, even after the company had promised back in July that it would be ending that practice. It looks like Amazon will beat DoorDash to actually paying out tips.

Update, August 22nd at 3:15PM ET: Added additional details from Amazon on the new minimum contribution towards driver pay.


Oh look, Amazon learned what a wage is. Congratulations on doing the bare minimum Bezos.
We really need to outlaw the bullshit that lets tips count toward hourly wages. First step in getting rid of tips entirely and just paying them for their work directly.

But, without tips, restaurants couldn’t make the food look 15% cheaper

15% tip? you barbarian, 20% is the minimum. /s

but for real, in Seattle we have about a 10% sales tax which jumps to 20% on cocktails. so make that 30/40% cheaper once you add in tax + tip.

went on vacation and the tax was 10%, 10% tourism tax, and 10% gratuity included.

That’s service industry for you. People are usually over worked and underpaid. Unless you work in high establishment you can make good chunk of change however than you can’t whine about paying. You got to pay to play.

But what tech companies are doing is totally predatory. At least in restaurants employees usually make good tips and some hourly salary without the business taking your tips.

I’ll patronize a place (that’s good of course) that pays their employees instead of relying on me to foot the last part of the bill for the rest of my life. Tips suck, pay your employees. That being said, I’m not going to not tip at a restaurant because of it, because I know they still make garbage wages without them.

Take it easy on Bezos. With advances in modern science, and his high level of income, it’s not crazy to think he could live to be 245, maybe 300. Do you have any idea how much that’s going to cost him? He can’t afford to pay these people.

Let’s include paying them all back for all the tips that Amazon, Doordash and the other sleazy companies that do this. I wonder about a class action lawsuit….

Class action is unlikely. This kind of shit isn’t illegal (even though it should be), and unless they made some particularly ill-considered wording in the app/tos, they’re probably protected.

Dammit. They’re aren’t too many things that get me seething mad, but companies stealing goodwill gestures from their employees is one of them.

Oh, it’s for Prime Now…I was sitting here thinking "who tips for regular deliveries"? especially since they just toss it on the porch and runaway.

I wish they’d get that accurate with their toss. Many of them can’t even be bothered to find the right building, much less porch or door.

I love when they started taking pictures of the package at the door, and how often its a picture of the wrong door.

Mine was a picture of the package in a rose bush. Granted, I live at an apartment complex, so it’s the owners problem… but it was still laughably bad.

Yep…you know it’s obvious when you actually describe your doormat in the delivery instructions, and it still finds its way elsewhere.

You’d hope the giant numbers next to the door would help…. But no.

It’s still not quite as egregious as I’ve seen with UPS drivers. I get those meal delivery kits, and two weeks in a row they left the box in my yard about 1ft away from the sidewalk and 7ft away from porch.

I’ve never once had a package left anywhere but on my porch.

I’ve found them hidden behind construction materials, down inside an empty planter, tucked into the rosemary bush, and under/inside a weeping maple tree. My door isn’t particularly visible from the street, so I’m not sure why they seem so scared of package thieves. I’ve thought about putting out a package chest, but it hasn’t been worth the bother yet.

I had no idea tipping Amazon drivers was even a possibility

Prime Now (1-3 hour delivery), it’s automatically included in your order.

But you can remove it.

Thanks for explaining I wasn’t aware of that service and was wondering why people were tipping regular Amazon delivery.

Brit here. Confused.

So they automatically add a tip to your order? And amazon automatically takes that from the driver anyway?

That’s not a tip? That’s just an additional random charge that they call a tip so they can charge you extra?

Wait.. my Prime Now tips were going to Amazon? This will be fun.. I will talk to them today and either they reimburse every single cent I gave them on tips, or I’m done with Amazon. And (embarrassingly enough!) it will be a lot of money lost/saved depending on the angle you look at it.

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