DPD has promised to pay all its drivers the real living wage, after concluding its employment review and releasing more detail about its Driver Code.

The real living wage is currently set at £8.75 across the UK and £10.20 in London for those 18 and older. This compares with the National Minimum Wage, which is £7.38 for those aged 21 and older.

DPD said its new ‘worker’ contract, which includes pension, paid holiday and sick pay sets a benchmark for the express industry.

From 2 July, those working for the business will have access to:

  • A Driver Code encapsulating choice, flexibility, opportunity and clear communication
  • The option to choose between an employed, self-employed worker or self-employed franchisee contract

The business said the new worker contract should generate driver earnings of £28,800 per annum on average, based on a standard five-day week contract. There is no upper cap on earnings. In addition, workers will receive 28 days paid holiday, a pension and sick pay.

In the future, all new DPD drivers will have the opportunity to ‘try before they buy', by starting as an employed driver before deciding if they wish to be a self-employed worker, a self-employed franchisee, or remain as an employee.

Before becoming self-employed, they will have access to free, independent business advice from approved suppliers.

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DPD's current breach system for self-employed drivers will be scrapped and replaced by a clear and consistent points-based Service Failure System to monitor service delivery and contract performance. Drivers will be briefed in detail on the new system before the introduction and there will be a full review before any points are allocated.

To improve communication with drivers still further, DPD has created two new roles within the depot network: owner driver relationship managers and service champions. The onus is on ensuring effective two-way communication with drivers in each depot and creating more opportunities for drivers to give feedback direct to management and communicate concerns.

To ensure that all its self-employed drivers receive at least the equivalent of the real living wage, DPD will monitor and measure their earnings on a monthly basis. This process will be independently audited.

Dwain McDonald, CEO of DPD, said: "The Driver Code represents a complete reappraisal of every aspect of our driver package. Our aim is simple - to make DPD the carrier of choice for delivery drivers and for our drivers to be the best rewarded in the industry.

“The feedback we've already had from the depots suggests we are on the right track. Many of the ideas here have come directly from the meetings my team and I have had with drivers and their input has been vital throughout this process.

"Loads of our drivers tell us they still love the self-employed franchisee model because of the flexibility and the capacity to earn significantly more. While we've been able to improve this contract further as part of this review, we recognise that it isn't for everyone.

"In future we want to make sure that drivers fully understand the risks and the benefits, whichever way they contract with us. By introducing ‘try before you buy', plain English contracts, free, independent business advice and the ability to switch contracts, we aim to get every driver onto the right contract for them," he said.