DHL – subcontractors

I can guarantee that it’s nothing whatsoever to do with IR35. IR35 only applies to companies – so the idea that DHL would insist that owner-drivers form companies to avoid IR35 just doesn’t work.

IR35 just applies the same employment tests to service companies as it does to the self-employed and the same get-outs apply. So if you provide your own vehicle and stand to make profits or lose money depending on how you run your business then you/your company avoids looking like an employee. The fact that you work for just one customer is never relevant. Since DHL O/Ds supply their own vehicle, are paid per parcel and are fined for non-deliveries then they pass the self-employed/IR35 tests.

On top of that, as Richard mentions, even if they do none of the above and act and are treated exactly like employees then they can pass the self-employed/IR35 test just by having it written into their contracts that they have the right, or even better the responsibility, to provide a substitute driver whenever they wish.

So unless DHL have the most cautious and/or incompetent lawyers in the world I’m left with the feeling that there’s something else behind this ‘service partner’ concept.

My suspicion is that DHL’s position on this is more about accountability than employment status. They’re too much of a big fish to be able to risk getting caught cutting the corners they need to in order to operate efficiently and profitably. Far better to force their ‘service partners’ to cut the corners for them and then point the finger at these ‘independent companies’ when problems occur. Just my opinion.

Posted under Employment

Posted by Alec at 8:27 am, September 8, 2007

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