Britain’s second-biggest parcel company, Hermes, which delivers for John Lewis and other major retailers, is paying some of its couriers at levels equivalent to below the national living wage according to a snapshot of information provided by some of those who have worked there.
In common with several delivery firms serving the internet shopping boom, Hermes does not need to pay its couriers the £7.20 an hour living wage introduced in April because they are self-employed. The arrangement is legal and is approved by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
One self-employed courier for Hermes provided evidence that suggested she took home approximately £5.90 an hour over two weeks of recent work and another showed invoice data that indicated she earned no more than £6.70 per hour.
A third courier provided estimates that she earned £5.50 per hour over nine days. All three of those who delivered parcels said they worked six days a week, from three to six hours per day.
Two couriers also showed the Guardian accounts from 12 months of work. One calculated he earned about £7.30 per hour in the last tax year, albeit without paid holiday, sick pay or pensions contributions. Another earned about £6.90 per hour over the same year.