The Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA), the largest independent trade association representing the UK’s specialist contractor accountancy services providers, has welcomed the Business Minister Margot James’ move to ask tax inspectors to investigate alleged complaints of low pay by self-employed couriers who work for Hermes courier company.
The investigation comes following reports (published by The Guardian) that some self-employed couriers are earning less than the average national living wage of £7.20 per hour whilst others claim that they are not genuinely self-employed because they must work to Hermes’ working orders and should therefore receive all the statutory benefits of employed workers.
Julia Kermode, Chief Executive at the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association said: “Self-employment is a positive choice for the majority of people working in this way, however I am always deeply concerned to hear about businesses that may be exploiting their self-employed workforce.
“FCSA has long campaigned for Government not to tolerate poor working practices for the self-employed so I wholly support Margot James MP in her request for HMRC to investigate Hermes. It is wrong for businesses to structure their self-employed contracts, deliberately or otherwise, in such a way that the workforce earn below the national living wage. Any firm with staff that earn below the living wage must immediately review their pay and bonus arrangements and make changes to ensure that their workforce receives at least the living wage, whether or not they are legally obliged to do so.”