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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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A question regarding employment expenses law. I'm an employee

Customer Question

A question regarding employment expenses law.
I'm an employee of a consultancy firm who are located in London, UK. My home town is Brighton and have previously commuted to London to work for a client of the consultancy. I now need to commute daily from Brighton to Leicester for a new client.
I therefore intend to make daily expense claims for mileage from Brighton to Leicester and back again (X miles @ HMRC rate of £0.45 per mile).
The consultancy's expenses policy with regard to mileage states that an employee can claim for reasonable expenses occurred, except for their travel to London.
However the firm have now told me that I can only make an expense claim of return day trips from Brighton to Leicester MINUS the daily rail cost of what my journey from Brighton to London would be, even though I'm no longer making those journeys. Their justification for this has been communicated as "employees should not be financially advantaged by expenses."
Having worked in my industry for several years and for several employers I have not ever heard of this approach being used. In fact, it sounds like a profit maximization technique on the part of my employer. Further, this approach has only been communicated verbally and is not in the expenses policy nor in my employment contract.
My question is - are my employer behaving in a lawful way i.e. are they within their rights to take such an approach (deducting the cost of a non-existent journey to justify that an employee must not be financially advantaged by expenses)? And if they are within their rights, do they have to provide this in writing?
Thanks for your help.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.
Hello, how would you be making a financial advantage if you are only claiming for the mileage you are actually undertaking for your trips?
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
The Mileage Approved Payment paid to me by my employer would exceed my fuel cost for these trips (i.e. for a journey costing me £40 in fuel, I would receive a £140 MAP expense payment), so my employer's reasoning is that I would be financially better off under this. They also stated 'tax implications' for deducting the theoretical daily rail cost from my expense claim and are refusing to quantify what this means.However, my view is that I wouldn't be financially advantaged, as the mileage approved payments cover more than just fuel.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience delays.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.
Many thanks for your patience. You are correct that mileage payments cover more than just the fuel you have used for the journey. They also cover wear and tear for the car, depreciation in value by adding mileage, and other things like oil, coolant, etc. So some people may think that getting mileage is a good earner when compared to the fuel paid but it is not as simple as that and it would cover other factors too. The rate of 45p per mile is the accepted rate by HMRC which is considered sufficient to not amount to ‘earnings’ and be exempt from tax. The employer does not have to pay that rate – they can pay less or they can pay more but this is the accepted rate. So if your policy entitles you to claim this rate for mileage and you have undertaken the travel you can expect to be paid for the journey and distance travelled. If they refuse then you can state that they are acting in breach of their own policy which could amount to a breach of contract. The excuses they have used are not really reasonable so they are weak and you should not accept them.
I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If your query has been dealt with please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. If you need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.

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