Delivery firm DPD is offering its 6,000 drivers holiday and sick pay in new contracts after one staff member died when he failed to go to hospital appointments.
Don Lane, 53, skipped appointments with kidney specialists after he was fined £150 for missing a day’s work for attending another hospital visit over his diabetes.
His heartbroken widow, Ruth, from Christchurch, Dorset, said he had been too scared to miss work and felt under pressure to complete his rounds.
Mr Lane then collapsed at home on December 30 last year and died in hospital five days later.
Don Lane, 53, from Christchurch in Dorset, (pictured with his wife, Ruth) had to pay a £150 daily fine if he did not find someone to cover his round while he was going to the doctor
Delivery firm DPD (pictured) is to offer its staff members new contracts after it came under scrutiny when one of its employees died earlier this year
But the delivery firm, which works for high street chains John Lewis and Marks and Spencer, claims it is the first courier company to offer to new contracts.
It said it started reviewing its contracts and working practises months before Mr Lane died and it is now scrapping the ‘breach charge’.
Dwain McDonald, the company’s chief executive, said: ‘We recognise that we need to improve the way we work with our drivers.
‘While the self-employed franchise scheme has benefited thousands of drivers over the past 20 years, it hasn’t moved with the times and needs updating.’
He said that further details about the contract would be revealed later in the spring and he added that the firm will pay for experts to advise workers whether to remain self-employed or sign the new contract.
It comes after Mrs Lane said DPD had failed in their ‘duty of care’ to her husband and accused them of showing a lack of compassion over his death.
Speaking in February, the 55-year-old told MailOnline: ‘There has been no letter from head office, no apology. I’ve not heard a word from them.
‘DPD were totally unsympathetic to my husband. His manager didn’t understand why Don couldn’t have come into work first or left to go to the appointment.’
Mr Lane then collapsed at home on December 30 last year and died in hospital five days later
His heartbroken widow, Ruth, (pictured) said he had been too scared to miss work and felt under pressure to complete his rounds
She added: ‘There was a huge pressure to deliver parcels to tight slots. He would never get breaks and they would get told off if they missed their time slots.
‘They knew how ill he was. He had collapsed at work in the past. It wasn’t like he had done something wrong – he didn’t ring up to say he was hungover or faking it.
‘They didn’t even have the decency to tell him they had fined him the day after the hospital appointment he went to.
‘He only found out he had been billed £150 when he received his next payslip. It was so cowardly on their part.’
At the time a DPD spokesman said: ‘We are devastated by the news of Donald Lane’s passing.
‘Don worked with DPD for 19 years and was a much loved and valued member of our team. Don will be badly missed by everyone in the Bournemouth depot.
‘Don worked as a self-employed driver for DPD as part of our franchisee driver programme, which has delivered huge benefits to thousands of drivers over the years.
‘These drivers own their own franchise and run their own businesses. Franchisees are contracted to provide a service – they do not have to provide the service personally, and drivers have the option of providing a substitute driver in the event of sickness.
‘Don was aware of the need to provide a substitute and used a substitute on a number of occasions. If the franchisee cannot provide a substitute, DPD will always try to reallocate the route amongst other franchisee or employed drivers.
‘We were shocked and hugely saddened by Don’s death and our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.’