DPD are set to offer their 6,000 drivers the right to be classed as workers following the death of self-employed courier, Don Lane. Drivers will now be given the option of working on a self-employed franchise basis or being directly employed by DPD.
If DPD drivers choose to be classed as workers, they will be a fully-fledged employee and entitled to paid holiday, sick pay and access to a pension scheme. There is also the possibility to be paid per delivery the make. On the other hand, the drivers can continue to be a self-employed franchisee.
The new status will give self-employed couriers some of the protections enjoyed by employed staff, whilst continuing to work flexibly like self-employed workers. Drivers who are employed directly by DPD will be paid less per parcel delivery. This is because they will receive the employment rights that the self-employee franchisee wouldn’t receive.
DPD couriers will be given an opportunity each year to change their employment status between employed, worker and self-employed franchisee. Currently, 5,000 of DPD’s drivers are self-employed and are paid per delivery they complete, however, they are entitled to no employment rights.
The international parcel delivery company will also remove its £150 daily charge for self-employed drivers who fail to provide a service. A new transparent and consistent point-cased service failure system will replace the daily charge.
Don Lane had missed three appointments with specialists to treat his kidney damage caused by his diabetes. He missed the medical appointments because he feared he would be subject to DPD’s £150 daily penalty if he didn’t find someone to cover his deliveries. A few months prior to Lane’s death in January 2018, he collapsed at the wheel whilst delivering parcels for DPD. Don put his work first before his health which is wrong. Lane’s death was described as “a terrible tragedy” by business secretary, Greg Clark.
Chief executive of DPD, Dwain McDonald, admitted: “We recognise that we need to improve the way we work with our drivers. While the self-employed franchise scheme has benefitted thousands of drivers over the past 20 years, it hasn’t moved with the times and needs updating. Our plan is to completely transform our overall driver offer, as well as the day-to-day working relationships we have with our drivers”.
Chair of the Commons select committee on work and pensions, Frank Field, stated: “The risks and rewards being generated by the gig economy must be shared more fairly between companies and their workers, many of whom comprise the vulnerable human underbelly of the labour market. The elimination of bogus self-employment, as DPD seems to be undertaking with these reforms, will have a key role to play in the rebalancing”.
Like DPD, other courier companies such as Yodel, Hermes and UK Mail also use self-employed drivers. It is thought DPD’s proposed changes will give direction for other organisations in the gig economy to follow.
If you need any advice or have any questions regarding, please contact a member of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932