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Employment lawyer welcomes HMRC Hermes inquiry

Employment law expert Michael Newman welcomes the Government's decision to invite HMRC to begin Hermes inquiry

Posted on 12 September 2016

Employment law expert Michael Newman has welcomed the Government’s decision to invite HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to begin an inquiry into delivery firm Hermes.

The Chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, Frank Field, wrote to Teresa May revealing details of complaints made by current and former staff at Hermes and urging her to launch an investigation. The PM has now asked business minister Margot James to invite HMRC to begin inquiries into the company.

Mr Field published a report today on ‘Self-employment in Britain’s ‘gig economy’’ which focuses on the working practices at Hermes.

Some of the complaints made about the company included allegations that some couriers are not receiving the minimum wage and that staff have been threatened with the loss of work for attending hospital appointments or tending to seriously ill family members.

In a statement Hermes said that they do not believe that the report reflects the way their organisation operates but would co-operate with any investigation.

Law firm Leigh Day specialises in employment law and the firm is dealing with a number of cases related to the so-called ‘gig economy’. Michael Newman, employment law partner at Leigh Day, said:

“The national minimum wage can only make the transition to being a truly ‘living wage’ if it applies to all workers. This includes those individuals that companies would prefer to call ‘self-employed’ despite the reality of the control the companies exert over their work. It must also be properly enforced. A HMRC inquiry into Hermes would help on both of these fronts.

“The minimum wage is all about securing a decent minimum standard for work in this country, and it is only right that Hermes should be paying its workers what they are entitled to.”