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Legal claim investigated on behalf of Parcelforce drivers who could be missing out on holiday pay and National Minimum Wage 

Law firm Leigh Day has launched an investigation into a potential group clam on behalf of drivers delivering for Parcelforce, a trading name of Royal Mail, who may have been misclassified as self-employed independent contractors rather than workers. 

Posted on 25 February 2024

The investigation relates to drivers working under Owner Driver Agreements which distinguish them from drivers who are employed directly by Royal Mail but deliver under the Parcelforce brand.  

Unlike those employed directly by Royal Mail, Owner Drivers have responsibility for their own vehicle. However, Leigh Day believes there are many other similarities between the working practices of Owner Drivers and those under employment contracts with Royal Mail.  

The firm estimates there are around 2,000-4,000 Owner Drivers who could be entitled to compensation if legal action is taken.  

Parcelforce provides delivery and collection services both nationally and internationally through 54 delivery depots across the UK. 

Marc Francis, an Owner Driver for 10 years, said: 

“All my equipment is my own, but I rent a device from Parcelforce weekly which I have to use. I shouldn’t be classed as an independent contractor because there is no way I can work for another company while I’m delivering for Parcelforce. When I turn up at the depot in the morning, I don’t know what the workload is going to be like, and I have no idea what time I’m going to get finished so you can’t commit to other work. 

“I decided to take legal action because I was sick of the mistreatment of drivers working within the Parcelforce group. I feel strongly that what they’re doing is legally wrong.” 

Liana Wood, a solicitor in the Leigh Day employment team, said: 

“It is our view that Parcelforce owner drivers should in fact be classified as workers – and, as such, be entitled to workers’ rights and to receive compensation for shortfalls to National Minimum Wage and Holiday Pay to cover the time they have worked for Parcelforce.   

“I would encourage any Owner Drivers who are still delivering for Parcelforce or have done in the last 10 weeks to join our investigation.” 

Employee status versus worker status 

In the UK there are two classifications of workers, employed and self-employed. Self-employed is broken down further into independent contractor and limb b worker.  

An independent contractor will have a direct relationship with their client. Limb b workers also provide a service but as part of someone else's business which means that the company they work for exert a certain level of power over them, so they are entitled to workers’ rights such as holiday pay and at least National Minimum wage. 

An employee is someone who works under an employment contract. In addition to workers’ rights, an employee has extra employment rights and responsibilities. 

Leigh Day is investigating whether Owner Drivers should be classified as workers.  

If Owner Drivers were to be successful in a workers’ rights legal claim, it would not impact their tax status. Employment law and tax law are different. Workers can be self-employed for tax purposes and be classified as a worker under employment law. 

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