I’ve been working as an Electrical Engineer with a company since November 2006 covering few sites in Central London.
In July 2009 I found a better paid job with another company but my Contract manager convinced me to stay and in order to help me financially started paying my weekly travelcard so I stayed: It was just a verbal agreement and he told me that I could claim my travel expenses even when I’m off work, which I did continuously since July 2009, even when I was off work because of Holiday or sickness.
That manager was promoted to a higher position and another Contract manager was put in-charge since then.
In November 2014, I filled in my Travel expenses for 3 weeks that I was off work because of sickness but this new Contract manager refused to approve the payment for that period of time. His argument was that the travel expenses were paid to me to enable me to move from site to site.
Even though I told him that the travel expenses have nothing to do with the job I was doing but it was to help me financially he has still refused the payment for that period when I was off sick saying that he spoke to my old Contract manager and he denied that the travel expenses were to help me financially.
I took the matter to our HR so they arranged an informal meeting and during that meeting my new Contract manager changed his mind and decided to pay me as he saw I was determined to take the matter further if I wasn’t paid.
In February 2015 that Contract manager was promoted to a higher position and another new Contract manager was put in-charge and the same scenario is happening again now:
In April I hurt my back and was off sick for 4 weeks and in my return I filled my expenses claim but this new Contract manager is refusing to approve it. I’m thinking about complaining again to the HR and even taking the matter to an employment tribunal. Do I stand a chance?
I was told that if travel expenses were paid to someone for more than 5 years it becomes like a contract even if it was just a verbal agreement, which is my case.
Also, they paid my travel expenses while I was off sick before, are they allowed to not pay me now?
And your help is much appreciated.
Good afternoon Ben,
Thank you for your response.
Firstly, could you please clarify more about the following and if it's possible relate it to my case:
Secondly, I do have evidence that my travel expenses were paid to me continuously for nearly 6 years, even during periods when I was off work, either on annual leave or sickness, but I've only been off sick a couple of times.
So when you said "The number of occasions and over how long a period the terms in question have been applied are important factors when considering whether a term has become implied in a contract", did you mean by "terms" the payment of my expenses in general or just during the periods when I was off sick?
Thanks in advance.