The most common question asked by new drivers looking to change to HGV driving is how much they will be paid. This makes sense because you want to know that you will be well compensated for the work you are doing in any career. The bad news is that there are no single or definitive salaries for HGV drivers, but there are some guidelines that you can use. There are some statutory minimum wages that you should be paid and some trends that can help you answer this question.
The Statutory Minimums
There are many rules that the HGV industry is governed by which are unique to this industry, but the legal minimum wage will still apply. This means that you will be covered by the National Minimum Wage and the National Living wage as well as the Apprenticeship Levy if applicable. To meet the National Minimum Wage requirements, you should have an hourly rate of:
• £7.38 for drivers aged 21 to 24.
• £5.90 for drivers aged 18 to 20.
• £4.20 for people aged 16 to 17, but you may not be driving at this age.
• £3.70 is the apprentice rate, but this is subject to conditions.
This is the minimum that you have to legally be paid; it does not mean that you will only get that. There are a lot of employers who recognise the value of their drivers and will pay them more to encourage better performance. The National Living Wage will often be used in these cases and ensures that you have a wage that you can live on. It helps if you have undergone full training, with organisations like the LGV Training Company.
The National Living Wage is applicable to all employees who are 25 years old and above. In 2016, this was set at £7.20 and increased to £7.50 in 2017 and £7.83 in 2018. As of 1 April 2019, this wage became £8.21, which was an increase of 4.85%.
From 1 April 2017, the Apprentice Levy came into effect for any firm that had a gross payroll of more than £3 million. These companies have to pay 0.5% of their gross payroll. The company can claim the payment back through approved training such as the Trailblazer apprenticeships.
Apart from their salary, drivers can be reimbursed for subsistence costs, but there is a bit of controversy regarding this in the industry. HMRC introduced a new system which caused a lot of confusion and additional work which resulted in another new system being implemented in September 2017. This new system detailed size options for employers, enabling them to reimburse and pay their drivers in a more consistent manner. These options are:
- Bespoke agreement
- Benchmark scale rate payments
- Agreed industry scale rate including the overnight subsistence allowance for drivers
- Overseas scale rates
- Direct expense claims
- Other allowances
Agreed Industry Scale Rate
While there is no set amount for HGV drivers, there is an agreed industry standard when it comes to reimbursement. This will include a consensus regarding the pay for drivers who are working and sleeping away from their homes. This scale has been in place in the industry for many years and has remained the same since 2013.
Drivers who have a sleeper cab will have a rate of £26.20 while drivers without a sleeper cab will have a rate of £34.90. It is important to note that employers are the ones who decide if they use the scale to reimburse the actual costs. While this means that reimbursement varies from one company to another, you know that if your employer is using the scale they are going to be checked by HMRC to ensure they are following the rules.
The Good News
This can all sound very confusing and will not answer the question you have about pay very clearly. Do not worry, there is some good news as well. In the past year, 79.1% of HGV drivers have stated that they received an increase in pay with the increase being on average 2.57% of their salary. This rate has been higher in the south with increased percentages lower in the north. Additionally, 85% of HGV drivers are earning well above the National Living Wage, but there is no way to determine how much higher.