DVLA asks staff to disclose their waist size as part of risk assessment to decide who is healthy enough to return to working at their Swansea headquarters

  • DVLA said to have asked staff to disclose their waist size for a risk assessment 
  • Organisation said it did not ask staff members for exact waist measurements 
  • Claimed their risk assessment was in line with Welsh government guidelines
  • Move has been branded ‘demeaning and insulting to staff’ by a union boss

DVLA staff were reportedly asked to divulge their waist size as part of an assessment to decide who could return to the office during the Covid pandemic. 

According to The Mirror, an email was sent to an unknown number of employees at the headquarters in Swansea requesting them to confirm if their waists were more than 34 inches for women and 40 inches for men.  

The email exchanges are said to be part of a ‘points based’ assessment which determined who out of the 6,000 members of staff could return to the office. 

The DVLA is reported to have emailed staff asking for their waist size as part of a risk assessment for their potential return to the office. Picture: Stock

Every member of staff was given a point for every coronavirus risk factor they had. 

The risk factors considered include having a BAME background, being a male or being pregnant. 

Those who get a score of four or more but are unable to work from home are reported to be placed on ‘paid special leave’. 

It comes as late last month it was reported more than 500 cases of coronavirus had been identified at the driving agency’s offices in Swansea between September and December last year, after bosses allegedly told staff with symptoms to return to work. 

The organisation, which employs more than 6,000 people, claimed it did not ask for staff members’ exact measurements and said its assessment was in line with Welsh government guidelines. Pictured: The DVLA headquarters in Swansea

Mark Serwotka, of the Public and Commercial Services Union, branded the email as ‘demeaning and insulting to staff’ and accused the DVLA of forcing employees into the workplace.  

A member of staff echoed his sentiment, accusing the organisation of using the assessment as a way to get more people into the office and reduce the amount of time off.  

The DVLA disputed the claims, explaining more employees have been placed on paid leave since the assessments were introduced. 

The organisation said staff were not required to give an exact size measurement and said its assessment was in line with government guidance in Wales.   

Mark Serwotka (pictured), of the Public and Commercial Services Union, branded the email as ‘demeaning and insulting to staff’

It also confirmed, where possible, members of staff are working from home. Of the six cases of coronavirus among the staff, two of those were people working from home.

There are three civil service departments in the city but, according to Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris, the DVLA is only one which is asking some staff to return to the office as opposed to working from home.

She said: ‘I am absolutely appalled that any worker would be in a position where they have to measure their waist as a deciding factor of whether they would be in or out of work at this time.’ 

The assessment has also been branded ‘shocking’ and ‘beyond belief’ by Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon. 

The DVLA has been approached for comment.  

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