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Hermes plans ‘muddying the waters’ of employment status
by Susie Hughes at 12:59 06/02/19 (News on Business)
A deal by delivery company, Hermes, to offer its drivers a 'self-employment plus' contract is 'muddying the waters' in defining employment status, according to freelancer group IPSE.
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The status of drivers for companies such as Hermes and Uber, has been the subject of several court cases and much controversy, as the 'zero-hours workers' sought employment rights, while the companies argued they were effectively self-employed.

Now Hermes has announced a deal offering 15,000 delivery drivers the opportunity to sign up to a new ‘self-employment plus’ contract. The contract would entitle them to holiday pay, union representation and guaranteed earnings above the National Living Wage.

IPSE has, however, argued that Hermes drivers have never been self-employed, and that instead of creating ‘self-employed plus’ status, the company should simply give its couriers the full package of benefits they are entitled to.

Distortion
IPSE has warned that creating ‘self-employment plus’ status could further confuse the debate over employment status and distort understanding of what genuine self-employment is.

IPSE’s Director of Policy Simon McVicker said: “It has to be said clearly: we do not believe Hermes drivers are or have ever been self-employed, so in no way is this a ‘new deal for the self-employed’.

“The line between employment and self-employment is blurred, and the debate extremely complex, but we have considered the Hermes example very carefully and come to the conclusion that their couriers are not self-employed.

“By creating ‘self-employed plus’ status, Hermes is muddying the waters of employment status even further. Of course it is an imperative to protect people with an uncertain working status, but this is not the way to do it. It should not be up to multinationals like Hermes to create new statuses and effectively decide UK employment law.

“Instead of creating this new and unnecessary status, Hermes should simply give their drivers the full package of benefits they are entitled to.

“We believe the way to clear the confusion about employment status is for the government to write into law a statutory definition of self-employment. At the moment, there is a legal definition of both worker and employee status, but nothing for the self-employed. A statutory definition would not only protect legitimately self-employed people, but also ensure falsely self-employed workers have the rights and protections they deserve.”

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2019

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