New Contractual Rights for Couriers

The GMB trade union have struck a ground-breaking deal with courier firm Hermes this week. Under the new agreement the 15,000 gig economy couriers will be able to opt in to become “Self-Employed Plus” workers giving them the access to new working benefits.

The agreement allows them to opt for up to 28 days holiday pay and guaranteed pay of at least £8.50 per hour over the year. This is more than the minimum wage which currently stands at £7.83/hr (rising to £8.21 in April 2019).


The new arrangements are optional and couriers who wish to carry on working the way they always have can continue to do so and will earn better hourly rates but without the guarantees.

Potential Tax Implications

We have seen many employment cases around the “gig economy” in recent years with staff seeking employment rights and companies insisting that those staff are self-employed. The Hermes/GMB agreement is ground breaking in that it appears to give some of the benefits of employment without acknowledging that the couriers are employed.

One potential stumbling block was raised during an interview of Matthew Taylor, author of the Government’s 2017 Good Work Report. He raised concerns that HMRC might consider the new rights to confer employee status on the couriers which would result in both employer and employee National Insurance becoming payable. Both the GMB and Hermes have insisted that the couriers would remain self-employed in the eyes of the law, but we can expect this to be closely scrutinised by HMRC in due course.

If you have any questions

If you have questions about your rights as a gig economy worker, or you are an employer who needs help with issues of employment status then Backhouse Solicitors are here to help. To arrange a free 30 minute consultation with one of our expert employment solicitors then get in touch with us today.

Tel: 01245 893400
Visit: 17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1JU

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