Thursday 20 October 2016 11:28 am

Parcel delivery giant Hermes face HMRC inquiry after low-pay allegations

Courier giant Hermes has been referred to HMRC following complaints that they are paying staff less than the national living wage. 

Employees at the firm, who deliver for John Lewis and Next, were taking home less than the national living wage once petrol costs were taken out, a recent investigation found.

Hermes workers also said they received no holidays or sick pay and they risked losing their jobs if they were unable to come to work for any reason. There was discussion on whether they should be defined as self-employed or not.

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Edward Troup, the executive chairman of HMRC, told Frank Field, the chairman of parliament's work and pensions committee, that he had passed on around 100 reports from Hermes workers to HMRC's compliance teams.

He said: “If we find that companies have misclassified individuals as self-employed, we will take all necessary steps to make sure they pay the appropriate tax, national insurance contributions, interest and penalties.”

Hermes, who employ 10,500 couriers, disagreed with the original report, saying it did not reflect the way their operated and had not been discussed with them. It said its employees were paid an average of £9.30 an hour, which was far above the £7.30 living wage.