DoorDash says it will roll out tipping changes to drivers sometime next month

A month after food delivery app DoorDash said it would change its controversial tipping policy, the company released more details about the planned changes — but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

In a company blog post on Thursday, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu gave a timeline and more details about when and how the company will change its pay model to stop effectively pocketing workers’ tips.

The announcement comes a few days after Recode first reported that the company had continued to pocket drivers’ tips despite promising drivers nearly a month ago that it would share more details on changes “in the coming days.”

In the post Thursday, Xu defended DoorDash’s original tipping policy — saying that in many cases the company boosted drivers’ pay when customers gave little or no tip. But the CEO also acknowledged that DoorDash’s model had “the unintended effect of making some customers feel like their tips didn’t matter.”

Many drivers have voiced outrage over the tipping policy, which is still in place for most workers.

“They’re still stealing tips,” DoorDash delivery person Dawnielle Turner recently told Recode. “I don’t think [the company] understands how many people rely on this as a primary source of income.”

As part of its new pay model, DoorDash said it will increase minimum base pay (from $1 to $2) and will offer more performance-based bonus options to its drivers.

There are still unanswered questions about what DoorDash’s pay policy changes will mean for workers. DoorDash did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Here’s what we don’t know yet:

  • How exactly the pay model will change. The company says that its new pay model will result in higher average earnings for drivers, and that it will use a third party to verify that. That’s a good first step toward greater pay transparency, according to Sage Wilson, an organizer for labor advocacy group Working Washington.

But DoorDash still won’t give its drivers a breakdown with a tip amount for how much they will make for each delivery when they first accept an offer. Only once a job is done will drivers see how much they’ve been tipped. That means that drivers have to trust that the company isn’t factoring in a customer’s tip when it quotes them on base pay. To help clear this up, drivers have called for the company to disclose exactly how much it pays workers for distance travelled and time spent making deliveries. Competing delivery apps like Postmates and UberEats do this already, according to Wilson.

  • The date when these changes will become effective. The company said it will roll out the pay changes to all drivers next month, and it already starting to test the new model — but there’s still no exact date when it will be official. Considering the company has been slow to make changes at the same time that it has closed major acquisition deals and a new round of funding, workers have expressed frustration over the company’s opaque timelines when it comes to worker pay.
  • If it will provide back pay to its drivers. Many drivers have argued that they’re owed for the tips that DoorDash might have directed toward base pay in the past. When Instacart made similar changes to its tipping policy earlier this year, it retroactively compensated workers.

Overall, DoorDash’s announcement represents a win for drivers, labor advocates, and customers who have continued to pressure the company to change its pay practices. But it’s too early to say for sure if these changes will end up universally helping drivers.