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flatulentbob

Driving for Work - Personal or Business?

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My employer seems to think they're entitled to tell you what to do during your own time. Apart from getting you to take work home with you, work early, work over, work through lunch etc, they like to tell us that driving to a client site - irregardless of where it is, is not business time and you must get there for 9.00am, normal start time.

 

There are things I like to do during my time, sleep, eat, make love, and do other things.

 

The other way around, the employer is very insistent about us making the time up for doctor appointments but they refuse to count the time I spent driving in the course of business. They say business mileage is personal time.

 

They're very quick to count every minute owed to them then tend to sweep under the carpet the extra 30 minutes you've done here or there.

 

The mind says that it is business mileage, HMRC allows 40p. Im not travelling to the client for my benefit but because I've been requested by work.

 

So who wins? Is it business or personal? Do I have any answer to prevent this abuse of my life? I like to do things during my time. I don't mind doing it if it's going to be recognised and appreciated and they're not taking the mick.

 

It has happened in the past where the employer expects someone to drive three hours on site, put in a full days work, then drive back. He's even expected people to drive down on Sunday as if he's being gracious in allowing us not to leave the house at 6am.

 

The company lawyer has advised a few weeks back that everyone should do business mileage during their own time to get to a client for 9am and if we refuse we can be dismissed for interfering in business.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Bob

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what does it say in you're "contract of employment" regarding this?

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watching this with interest.

 

i used to work as area manager (living in South Wales - covering up as far away as Staffordshire, Warwickshire etc).

My ex-employer used to demand i was in the 1st call at 9.15 and last call at 5.15.

Now, some of my counties alone were 3hr drive to the nearest account within that area (all good and well if i were staying away, which i used to do 4 out of 6 weeks) - yet, they still used to say that was my call structure and disregarded my travelling times.

They did pay for all business travelling as having investgated this with IR, they stated that all the travelling done to the call and back home was business miles.

 

there will be my own post listed soon as i have raised a complaint to the employment tribunal on a number of issues, but i plan to use the travelling within the dispute too.

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Thanks janmal, Hello enigma,

 

I find it troublesome that just because they say we may expect you to work over at some times, that it means they think they can tell me what to do outside of my normal working hours.

 

The contract is quite limited.

 

Relevent bits

 

Work hours are clearly outlined in the contract, but goes onto say "to meet the needs of the business, the hours may be changed to include evening and weekend working and a reasonable number of additional hours at the discretion of yourself and management".

 

It even goes on to say that we "won't be entitled to any additional pay".

 

It does say that we "won't be regularly expected to work in excess of forty eight hours" per week.

 

"Travel to a client is considered part of the normal working day."

 

I don't mind travelling, but I just want to know if it is work time. If it is work time, I could perhaps have a bit of a get out under "Rest Periods" under the Working Time Regulations where say for example I have to get on the road for six, and not get home til eight.

 

Strange clause says no equipment should be left in a vehicle outside of working hours. That seems quite impossible to me when you have an appointment outside of work but are expected to take things home with you. Yes, work interferes with personal life that much. Or what if Im on the road on the way to a client and stop off for a bit to eat on the way before office hours?

 

The contract is full of rubbish like this.

 

Bob

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if in your contract it states that "Travel to a client is considered part of the normal working day." then i would have thought that this means you should be paid for traveling time and your day starts when you start travelling as your contract clearly states it is part of your working day. i am no professional, just my opinion

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1) it also states, "additional hours at the discretion of yourself and management", so are you agreeing to all of this or are you being bullied into it?

2) are you hourly paid or on fixed salary.

3) do you belong to a Union or not

all the above are relevant and also that in a recession lots of companies try to take their employees for granted as they can replace anyone from the unemployed.

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also what are you driving a van, lorry or car?

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Hello Engima,

 

Im driving a private car. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the recession in my mind, as the company has reneged on various deals, such as promises of pay rises such as when an employee gains a qualification, no pay rises in five years for very many people and the company keeps demanding more.

 

Although Im willing to do things as the nature of the job, the previous communication was that if we didn't travel during our own time then their advising solicitor says that we can then be dismissed for "interfering with business".

 

I would probably say it isn't bullying, but I would say that there is an unwritten expectation and I have known things to get messy in the past when an employee stands up for their rights. I've been threatened with redundancy in the past for not taking work home with home.

 

Pay is fixed salary.

 

I do not belong to a union. The company isn't that big. But still 15 to 25 people (without being too specific).

 

Again, Ive never minded going onsite, I just don't want someone to take the mick and expect me to leave at 6am, arrive at 9am, put in a full day, get home for 8.00...

 

I probably also don't have the energy to fight this. But I would like to know if driving for work can be considered work time - not so I can necessarily get more, but just so I can get it acknowledged.

 

Bob

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I sympathise- working in field sales everything you mention that's expected of you I experience myself too. The biggest problem of all however boils down to do you dare to make a stand and rock the boat, or put up with it while trying to get out of it by finding a new job elsewhere in due course instead. The ideal would be for a few of you to submit a collective grievance perhaps however finding colleagues willing to support you in that respect is another matter.

 

Anyway...

 

If you have to travel as part of your work then time spent travelling to and from sites other than your normal place of work should be classed as working time.

 

"Working lunches" count as work time too by the way. They don't count as breaks - you're still working.

 

If you haven't already done so check if the company has a Driving at Work , Travel, and Health & Safety at work policies. If any or all are in existence get copies and see what's stated in them.

 

The Department of Transport / HSE gives guidance in respect to driving, long working days and driver fatigue. It does state that it considers it unreasonable to expect someone to drive two and a half hours to a site then do a full working day there, and then drive two and a half hours back home again afterwards. It says it wouldn't be unreasonable if the time working at that site was just four hours or less, but an eight hour day with five hours of driving too certainly would be. It goes on to suggest companies should allow employees to stay overnight in those scenarios. Companies are advised to conduct risk assessments, including doing risk/journey planning assessments before drivers set off on any long distance trips and each time too.

 

Staying overnight isn't always the ideal solution either - fine where its now and then and just occasionally, but not fine when you're spending three hours of your precious weekend driving there every Sunday!

 

The company sounds as though it's leaving itself wide open were a road accident to happen involving one of its employees in circumstances such as those you describe.

 

Regardless however, as you rightly fear, if you object and/or submit a grievance in respect to any of it, you might end up out of a job later as a result. Legally yes the company would have acted unfairly but proving it is another matter.

 

See what relevant policies they might have first of all.

 

Then test the water with colleagues to see if any might be willing to join in a collective grievance.

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I've never been one for rocking the boat if I can help it, but if I can splash the face of the boss in showing all the extra overtime that he hasn't thought about should an issue arise, then Im more than happy to do that :-)

 

They once had the cheek to tell me if I have to book holidays for hospital and dental appointments. Im under no such obligation I understand from ACAS. They have no right to interfere with my holiday. I can ask them to deduct relevent amount from my salary.

 

They once changed the terms and conditions of sick pay while I was off sick.

 

That's an aside, but gives you an idea about the kind of company I work for.

 

Bob

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