UK govt refers Hermes driver pay to HMRC

UK Business Minister Margot James has reportedly passed on concerns about delivery company Hermes policy on its payments to delivery van drivers to the HMRC.

Lately there has been a lot of media interest in the way that delivery companies pay their drivers, and at the same time Frank Field MP, chairman of the House of Commons Work and Pensions select committee, has compiled a report that alleges some drivers working with Hermes (yet are classed as ‘self employed’) are, according to the report, are “paid an hourly rate that is much lower than the National Living Wage”.

Hermes has responded by saying that the report is not a true reflection of the way that the company operated but has added that it will “cooperate fully with any investigation” made by the HMRC.

Reports suggest that the business minister has informed Field that the government did not plan launching its own investigation into Hermes working practices. James however did add to this that: “We will continue to monitor the situation and I will pass your letter to HMRC, who can consider the relative merits of proactive investigation, even in the absence of a complaint, alongside other investigative priorities.”

The media has lately taken quite an interest in the way that payments are changing for delivery drivers, with a move away from an hourly rate and more towards a piece rate where the driver is paid per piece dropped, incentivising them to deliver as many packages as possible in a shift. Where there are a number of customers who are away or there are distances between drops, this can impact a driver’s hourly pay rate.