DPD charges drivers for sick cover?

There have been reports that DPD has been charging its drivers £150 a day for sick days.

The Guardian published an investigation this weekend that claimed, “Couriers who deliver parcels for Marks & Spencer, River Island and John Lewis face being charged £150 a day if they cannot find cover when they are ill.”

The newspaper has made its claims based on interviews with DPD drivers, and quoted Frank Field MP who is the Chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee. He is reported as saying that the arrangements DPD made with its drivers were ‘appalling’.

The Guardian article gave right to reply to DPD. A spokesperson for the delivery company explained that this was not a charge for being off sick but rather a financial arrangement between DPD and its franchisees that are contracted to deliver the service.

According to the DPD spokesperson, “DPD franchisee drivers are not fined for being off work sick.”

“Franchisees are contracted to provide a service – if they are unable to provide that service themselves they are required to provide a substitute driver. If they fail to do so, DPD have to fulfil that service and therefore reserve the right to charge the franchisee for the costs involved in doing so.”

This is the latest in a series of articles by the mainstream media looking at working practices in the delivery sector. Fiercely competitive, some players have taken an exact view of the law and chosen to work around it rather than keeping to the spirit of the law. It seems that the Fourth Estate is watching the likes of DPD and other couriers very closely… 
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