Hermes rebrands and agrees pension deal for gig economy workers

Parcel delivery service Hermes UK has rebranded to Evri and announced that it will auto-enrol all of its 20,000 ‘self-employed plus’ (SE+) workers into a pension by the end of the year.

The firm reached the agreement with the union GMB and represents a £7m a year investment from Evri.

Evri’s SE+ scheme is a model whereby couriers can opt-it and receive benefits such as holiday pay and individually negotiated pay rises.

Since a court ruling in 2021 that found Uber drivers were not self-employed and therefore had pension rights, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has been encouraging companies with gig economy workers to proactively enrol workers into pensions.

Commenting on the announcement, a spokesperson from TPR said: “We welcome the steps Evri (formerly Hermes UK) is taking to give workers access to pensions saving. We want to see eligible workers in the gig economy receive the pensions they are entitled to.

“The gig economy is set to grow further as the UK emerges from the pandemic and businesses recover, and it is only right that workers contributing to the economy have the opportunity to save for retirement.

“Employers in the gig economy should recognise and comply with their automatic enrolment responsibilities voluntarily and promptly. We will take enforcement action where appropriate to ensure savers are protected.”

GMB organiser, Steve Garelick, described the agreement as a “breakthrough deal” and a “massive step forward”.

“Tens of thousands of couriers will now have the safety and security of knowing their retirement plans are being looked after,” he stated.

Evri CEO, Martijn de Lange, added: “When we first announced our SE+ model in 2019 we committed to continuing to develop our support for our self-employed couriers and we are proud to have been true to that and be leading the industry once again.

“Our couriers receive guaranteed pay rates, paid holiday and now a pension but have also been able to retain the flexibility that so many treasure, fitting in their deliveries alongside their other, often family, commitments.”

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