How Much Does Being an HGV Driver Pay?

Lorries on a busy motorwayThe question has become one of the most asked by new drivers who are interested in driving for a career. We can’t blame anyone for wanting to know about this! People like to know how much they are going to be compensated for the work they will be doing in that career before they make their decision. Pay is one of the main factors people use when choosing a career or job, especially if you have to cover taking HGV training. The bad news is that there is no specific amount that an HGV driver gets paid because there is no set salary – but the good thing is there are some guidelines that can help you estimate how much you can expect to make. Some of them are statutory minimums and some are trends that will help in working out the pay to see whether it is right for you.

Statutory Minimums

The HGV industry has its own rules that govern it, but the legal wage minimums still apply here. You are covered by the National Living Wage, National Minimum Wage and Apprenticeship Levy.

In order to meet the National Minimum wage, there is a minimum per hour wage that needs to be met:

If your age is 21-24 it is £7.38
If your age is 18-20 it is £5.90
If your age is 16-17 it is £4.20
The apprentice rate is £3.70, but it is subject to some conditions.

Just because this is the minimum wage set by law doesn’t mean it is the amount you are going to end up getting. There are some employers who know the value of giving their drivers more money to encourage them to perform better. The National Living Wage is designed to ensure employees of all ages are getting a secure and liveable wage. The National Living Wage for people aged 25 and over was £7.20 in 2016. This increased in 2017 to £7.50, then to £7.83 in 2018, and it is £8.21 since 1 April 2019. This is a 4.85% increase.

On 6 April 2017, The Apprenticeship Levy was put in place, and it applied to firms with a gross payroll cost above £3 million, where they have to pay 0.5% of gross payroll towards apprenticeships. In order for Levy payers to claim the payment, they have to go through England Trailblazers apprenticeships, which is the approved training.

Driver Subsistence

There has been some controversy when it comes to reimbursement of drivers over the years. HMRC introduced a new system that ended up causing confusion and extra work, and in September 2017, a new system was put in place. The new one laid out size options for employers enabling them to consistently reimburse and pay the drivers. The options are:

  • Benchmark scale rate payment
  • Bespoke agreement
  • Industry scale agreed on (overnight subsistence allowance for lorry drivers)
  • Other allowances
  • Direct expense claims
  • Overseas scales rates
  • Agreed industry scale

One thing to keep in mind is that while there is no set payment for a driver, there is an industry scale that has been agreed on that offers reimbursement or pay for HGV drivers who sleep and work away from home. The scale has been used for many years, and it has not changed since 2013. For sleepers who don’t have a sleep cab, they get £34.90, while those who have a sleep cab are paid £26.20. Employers will have the option of reimbursing the actual cost or using the industry scale, so this figure will vary from one employer to another. One thing you are sure about is that if they choose the scale, they have to follow the rules because they are being checked by HMRC.

Good News

No need to worry if all of the above sounds a little confusing – there is some good news. Over 79% of drivers got an increase in their pay last year. The average increase was 2.57% of their salary. The south had a higher rate, with the north having a slightly lower rate. Over 80% of HGV drivers are getting a wage higher than the National Living Wage, but it is a little hard to come up with the exact figure.