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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46146
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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when i started work for a company 15 years ago i was told that

Resolved Question:

when i started work for a company 15 years ago i was told that i would have a company van to travel from my home to work and back every day today they told me as of the first of april i will not be having company transport anymore
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have they said why they are withdrawing this benefit?

Customer:

the reason for this change is due to a review having been carried out on company vehicles in an effort to ensure we are utilizing our resources in the best way possible

Ben Jones :

and to confirm, you have had use of the vehicle for the last 15 years?

Customer:

yes only for work not personal use

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

Even if the benefit of the van is not mentioned in your contract, you could certainly argue that it has become a contractual clause through ‘custom and practice’. Therefore, trying to remove the van now would most likely amount to a change to your contractual terms and conditions. There are a few ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are by:



  • Receiving the employee’s express consent to the changes.

  • Forcefully introducing the changes (called 'unilateral change of contract').

  • Giving the employee notice to terminate their current contract and then offer them immediate re-engagement under a new contract that contains the new terms.


 


If the changes are introduced without the employee's consent, then the following options are available:


 


1. Start working on the new terms but making it clear in writing that you are working ‘under protest’. This means that you do not agree with the changes but feel forced to do so. In the meantime you should try and resolve the issue either by informal discussions or by raising a formal grievance.


 


2. If the changes fundamentally impact the contract, for example changes to pay, duties, place of work, etc., you may wish to consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. The resignation must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give the impression that the changes had been accepted. The claim must be submitted in an employment tribunal within 3 months of resigning and is subject to you having at least 2 years' continuous service. You would then seek compensation for loss of earnings resulting from the employer's actions.


 


3. If the employment is terminated and the employer offers re-engagement on the new terms that could potentially amount to unfair dismissal. However, the employer can try and justify the dismissal and the changes if they had a sound business reason for doing so. This could be pressing business needs requiring drastic changes for the company to survive. If no such reason exists, you can make a claim for unfair dismissal in an employment tribunal. The same time limit of 3 months to claim and the requirement to have 2 years' continuous would apply.


 


Finally, it is also worth mentioning that sometimes employment contracts may try to give the employer a general right to make changes to an employee’s contract. As such clauses give the employer the unreserved to change any term, so as to evade the general rule that changes must be mutually agreed, courts will rarely enforce such clauses. Nothing but the clearest language will be sufficient to create such a right and the situation must warrant it. Any attempt to rely on such clauses will still be subject to the requirement of the employer to act reasonably and can be challenged as above.


 

Customer:

ok thats fine but i think the main reason for taking away the van is the miles on the van is 65000 and it is under two years old and they have a lease on it for 4 years with 80000 miles and will have to pay for excess miles at over 1 pound a mile

Ben Jones :

if they will have to pay £1/mile to keep it then it could potentially be a fair reason for its withdrawal, as you can imagine it is an unreasonable expectation hat is placed on them due to the prohibitive costs

Customer:

so you think i should pay about 125 pounds a week in fuel plus wear and tear of my own car or find another job closer to home

Ben Jones :

well the van would have been a benefit, which as any other benefit could be withdrawn at some point if the employer has a justifiable reason for doing so. You could try and negotiate with them, for example if they can provide a slight increase to your wages to offset some of the resultant costs. But if that is refused then you have the following options:



  • resign claiming constructive dismissal, perhaps looking for another job

  • accept the changes


Customer:

ok thanks

Ben Jones :

You are welcome, all the best

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46146
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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