Last reviewed 16 March 2020

The delivery company Hermes has pledged £1 million to help its self-employed couriers if they need to self-isolate as a result of the coronavirus.

Hermes has around 15,000 couriers who are normally only paid if they complete a parcel delivery or collection and the company does not normally provide sick pay.

However, Hermes has confirmed it will pay its self-employed drivers who need to self-isolate and will help find someone to deliver on their behalf, whilst guaranteeing that their rounds will be kept open for them for when they return.

The announcement has been welcomed by the trade union GMB as an example of how employers should react in the battle to protect workers and the British public from COVID-19.

Previously, GMB also praised the NHS contractor ISS as it announced all staff would receive full pay in cases of coronavirus self-isolation, with fellow contractor Sodexo following suit shortly after.

The move has followed warnings that a lack of sick pay for the more than one million gig economy workers could accelerate the spread of the virus, as workers would face financial difficulties if they did not carry on regardless of the risk to their health or that of others.

Commenting on the issue, Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said, “Hermes have once again taken the industry lead and shown the gig economy how things should be done.

“By setting up this fund to assist those couriers they are not just protecting people who deliver for them, they are helping to keep the British public safe.

“This is a very welcome step in the right direction, and all employers across the UK should follow their example”.