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How Much Do HGV Drivers Earn?

Lorries driving on the motorwayQuestions about compensation are frequently brought up by drivers that are considering transitioning to HGV driving. It’s easy to understand why! No matter what line of work you’re in, you’ll want to make sure you’re going to be paid fairly especially after taking all the tests required to be a HGV driver, from the hgv hazard perception test to the actual driving test. Many people choose to switch jobs because they want to earn more. Unfortunately, pay for HGV drivers can vary greatly. Thankfully, by looking at trends, statutory minimums and guidelines you can get a better sense of what you’re likely to earn. That’s what we’d like to discuss here.

Statutory Minimums

There are a number of rules governing the HGV industry. Laws regarding the legal minimum wage are applicable. The National Living Wage, the Apprenticeship Levy, and the National Minimum Wage all apply here.

In order to meet the guidelines for National Minimum wage, your minimum hourly wage will need to be at least:

  • £7.38 for drivers between the ages of 21 and 24
  • £5.90 for drivers 18 to 20
  • £4.20 for drivers 16-17
  • The apprentice rate is £3.70, but there are some conditions that apply.

With that said, you shouldn’t expect to be paid the minimum legal amount. A great number of employers offer more than that. Employers understand that higher wages can be motivating for workers, and that paying more can help a company to attract the best employees. The goal of the National Living Wage is to ensure that workers are always able to have wages they can properly live on. It applies to workers over the age of 25. In 2016, the level was set at £7.20. In 2017, it went up to £7.50. It increased to £7.83 in 2018 and £8.21 in 2019.

In April 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced. It applies to firms that have a gross payroll cost of more than £3m and are therefore expected to pay 0.5% of the gross payroll. A levy payer is only able to reclaim payments via approved training, such as Trailblazer apprenticeships. Every country has its own system regarding educational funding for adults. Countries that do not have a system in place are likely to be working to introduce one.

Subsistence for Drivers

As of 2017, a new system has been introduced. It gives employers various options so that they are able to pay drivers’ expenses on a more consistent schedule. These options include:

  • Industry scale rate (which includes an overnight subsistence allowance for lorry drivers)
  • Benchmark scale rate
  • Bespoke agreements
  • Additional allowances
  • Overseas scale rates
  • Claims for direct expenses based on an industry scale rate

As you can see, even though there isn’t any sort of set payment amount for subsistence, HGV drivers have an agreed industry scale that provides appropriate reimbursement to drivers. This system has been around for quite some time and hasn’t changed since 2013. Drivers that have a sleeper cab have a rate of £26.20. If drivers do not have a sleeper cab, the rate increases to £34.90. Employers can decide whether they prefer to use the scale or reimburse the driver’s actual costs. Either way, drivers can expect to be fairly compensated for what they spend.

Positive News

If you’re confused by all of this, you don’t need to be concerned. There is some positive news regarding driver earnings. An impressive 79.1% have stated that they received a pay increase over the last year. The typical increase was approximately 2.57% of the driver’s salary. Pay increases in the south were higher than average pay increases in the north. As much as 85% of all HGV drivers are earning substantially more than the National Living Wage. However, it is difficult to state exactly what their earnings are. It’s clear that the earning potential for HGV drivers is fairly high.