DPD is to create a new “worker” job category for delivery drivers as part of a strategic review following the death of one of its couriers earlier this year.
It plans to introduce a DPD Driver Code later this year and introduce a self-employed worker contract that will offer drivers a choice that is in between being directly employed by DPD or working with DPD on a self-employed franchise basis.
Drivers on this contract will receive some of the protections of being employed, including paid annual leave, pension entitlement and sick pay, but will also be able to realise the benefits of being self-employed, by having a higher earning potential and greater flexibility and choice over how they work.
The issue hit the headlines after the wife of Don Lane, one of its couriers, spoke out about her husband’s death. Mr Lane had been fined £150 for taking a day off to attend a medical appointment to treat his diabetes.
Chief executive Dwain McDonald said: “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 relationship we have with our drivers. I’ve been visiting our depots and talking to our drivers and the package of measures we are developing will be a direct result of those conversations.
“At the moment, we have drivers who are self-employed and those that are employed directly by DPD. While the vast majority of our self-employed drivers tell us they want to remain self-employed, we want to provide them with a choice of options, including the new worker status. We are looking at all aspects of how we work with our drivers at the moment, and I’m consulting closely with both our drivers and our external advisers Lord Watts and Iain Wright to make sure these changes are fair for all our drivers, and we will announce more details later in the Spring.”
When the new worker category is launched, DPD will be offering all current employed and self-employed drivers the opportunity to switch to worker status. All those who work for DPD will be given an annual opportunity to apply to change their employment status between employed, worker and self-employed franchisee.
The company said that the change would only take place “after they have received detailed advice at DPD’s expense, so each driver is making an informed choice and clearly understands what they are committing to and what benefits they may or may not receive, to ensure that their employment status works for them”.
The company will also confirm that the current breach system for self-employed drivers, which includes the £150 charge for failing to provide service, will be scrapped completely and replaced by a new, more consistent and transparent points-based service failure system.