Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft have been locked in a battle with New York regulators for some time now.
The companies have effectively been hoping that they can continue to operate as normal. By considering their employees independent contractors instead of employees, they're able to bypass many US (and New York) employment laws, particularly those that govern minimum wage.
This lets ride-hailing firms keep prices low for customers while saving themselves quite a bit of cash.
Though regulators and union groups haven't yet managed to push Uber or Lyft to re-classify their drivers as employees, they nonetheless managed to score a different win in 2018.
In December, New York passed a set of rules that effectively forced platforms like Uber and Lyft to pay their drivers at least $15/hr in the city.
Lyft and Uber alike have expressed their concerns with the implementation of the rules, but they've still largely acquiesced to New York's demands.
Indeed, Lyft today officially agreed to pay drivers $17.22 per hour (the extra $2.22 will help cover other driver expenses), according to Engadget. Apparently, that price hike will increase the average driver's yearly income by around $9,600.
For now, despite Uber and Lyft's protests, needing to pay their New York drivers some extra cash probably won't affect their bottom line too much.
However, if New York's rules spread any further throughout the country, the tech giants may be forced to come up with new monetization models. Regardless, only time will tell, and we'll keep you updated if that happens.