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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44911
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I currently have had company cars company I work

Customer Question

Hi
I currently have had company cars for the company I work for since 2000 and my contract of employment states I will be provided with a company car. However it seems my company are looking to substitute the car for a van when the current lease expires. It is my understanding that they would be in breach of contract if they tried to do this if I did not agree to it.
What is the legal situation with regards ***** ***** the company is a large privately owned company.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Why does the employer ant to change to using a van?

JACUSTOMER-6kzs1j5z- :

Hi

Ben Jones :

Whilst at first sight it may appear that the employer is breaching the contract, because you are entitled to a company car but are instead given a company van, hat may not necessarily be the case. The priority is that you are provided with a company vehicle so whether that is a van or a car, the employer would still be meeting their duty under contract. Had a more specific description been included, for example type of car or model, then you would have a better argument but a generic entitlement of a company car does not mean that it has to be a car rather than a van. It would then depend on your use of the vehicle and whether you would not be able to discharge these with a van, but if you are just getting from A to B and can do so regardless of the type of vehicle then it will not matter much from a legal point of view.

The last consideration is whether the change of vehicle will impact the taxable value of such benefit. This depends on the vehicle value and the type of fuel amongst other factors so if there is a considerable change in the taxable benefit you can argue that this changes the financial entitlement you are receiving and can ask for something that keeps the value to a similar level. However, that does not mean that it has to remain as a car and an equivalent level in terms of a van may also suffice.

You can nevertheless challenge the employer over this, for example by raising a formal grievance but if that is unsuccessful then legally your options are not strong considering the above and you can only challenge them on the taxable value that may be affected as a result.

Ben Jones :

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you

JACUSTOMER-6kzs1j5z- :

Hi

JACUSTOMER-6kzs1j5z- :

Thanks for your reply. At the moment I have not been told I am getting a van but other branches have been given vans instead of a 5 x seater car. I was wanting clarification for if they do try to do this in a years time as at the moment I pay tax to use the company car for private use but the cost of the fuel to do this is paid for by me. My argument would be if I was given a van with the company logo on it then it is classed as a commercial vehicle which can be left in a secure compound at the office as my contract of employment states that that address is where I work from so if I was given a van I would be picking it up at 9am and dropping it back off before 5:30pm I would therefore have to buy my own vehicle to get me to and from the office so financialy I would be in a worse position as a van for private use would be of no use to me as I require a vehicle with 5 x seats for personal use. I have had a company car provided by this company since October 2000. So as I said I wanted to be prepared and know my options should the company try and force a van upon me.

Ben Jones :

if the issue is not just the type of vehicle you get but also the condition that go along with it, for example changes to its usage terms, like where you can use it and pick up / drop off to then you could argue that it amounts to a change in contract so doing so without you consent could be a breach of contract. If you can try and arrange something which leaves the benefits the same or similar, even if you change from a car to a van, then the changes could be introduced but if it affects the actual usage benefits then you can pursue it as a breach of contract matter

Ben Jones :

Hope this clarifies your follow up query?

JACUSTOMER-6kzs1j5z- :

Yes thanks this now makes things a little clearer one last thing could you please confirm that if the van has the company logo on it that it would be classed as a commercial vehicle and as they have a secure gated compound I would be within my rights to pick it up from there at my start time 09:00 and and drop it off at my finish time 17:30 and would travel to and from office in my own vehicle as I would not have enough space to park both a van and my own car.

Ben Jones :

Whether the logo makes it a commercial vehicle is not something I can help with as that is not employment law unfortunately - it could be to do with taxes for example if the classification of commercial vehicles is governed by that but not something that is covered in employment laws, sorry

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