Health

How hundreds of DVLA employees who quit duty at home are fully paid under Covid ‘special leave’ deal


Hundreds of DVLA employees have been given full pay to go home during the pandemic without having to work, it has emerged.

Around 3,400 of the 6,200 Government agency employees were at home doing nothing during the first lockdown in April and May 2020.

This does not include people who are sick with Covid.

The decision to let employees get paid for doing nothing for weeks left millions of motorists trapped in registrations and license renewals.

One training manager joked that he resented being contacted at home by his boss because it interrupted his Netflix viewing.

The figures, revealed in an investigation by The Times, show that nearly 1,000 DVLA workers were still on ‘special paid leave’ in August 2020.

They also show that in nine of the past 24 months, more than 500 employees were at one point out of work, on special paid leave, or on strike.

More than a million motorists are waiting for their permits to be processed because of the huge DVLA backlog (file image)

More than a million motorists are waiting for their permits to be processed because of the huge DVLA backlog (file image)

There have been 58 active days in the past year, with 1,000 employees leaving at a time.

In January of this year, 41 workers were still on special leave, but the DVLA says that number has now dropped to 14.

Approximately 60,000 parcels arrive at the agent’s Swansea offices each day.

Strict limits on the number of employees there, which are stricter than government guidelines, remained in place throughout the pandemic under pressure from unions, The Times reported.

It claims that an undercover reporter working as a call handler has allegedly misled the public about the length of the delay.

In conversation with the reporter, a training manager joked about avoiding working from home, saying: ‘My manager is going to text me… and I want that, you’re doing. interrupted my series on Netflix.’

Meanwhile, employees complain that colleagues think they are too vulnerable to come to the office – who are already on paid leave – ‘not doing any work, but are mingling with new people. others and go on vacation’.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, has ordered a ‘thorough investigation’.

He said he was ‘deeply concerned’ and ‘expected a prompt reply’ from management.

There has been a backlash from those affected by the delay.

John Swindail, a retired driving teacher from Werrington, Staffordshire who waited 13 months for his license to be renewed, said the loss of personal freedom was ‘life changing’.

He added: ‘Everybody else seems to be managing to get to work. Why can’t they? ‘

The DVLA, pictured here in Swansea, says it is working hard to eliminate the backlog of license renewals.  The DVLA said it has hired more staff and opened new websites and hopes to clear the backlog by June.

The DVLA, pictured here in Swansea, says it is working hard to eliminate the backlog of license renewals. The DVLA said it has hired more staff and opened new websites and hopes to clear its backlog by June.

Reece Bryant, 29, of West Sussex, is still waiting for her new license ten months after applying for an extension.

He said: ‘The rest of us still have to work. It’s ridiculous.’

The Commercial and Public Service Union, which represents DVLA employees, claims the agency’s offices are not secured by Covid.

A spokesman said: ‘During the first round of lockdown, the vast majority of staff at DVLA were sent home. However, because the technology is substandard, it means that most employees can do little or no work. ‘

The DVLA said it has hired more staff and opened new websites and hopes to clear its backlog by June.

A spokesman said the undercover reporter’s statements were ‘not representative of the culture of hard work at the DVLA’.



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