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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44961
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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A friend works for the council in a professional position,

Customer Question

A friend works for the council in a professional position, has been there for 5+ years. They have just found out that their office is being moved in a few months.
Their job requires a car - this is part of their contract. They spend about half of their work day driving between council locations and the other half at their office.
The new office is only a few miles away from the old one but has no parking (except a few spaces for top council management - obviously!) and there's none within a couple of miles.
They have been told that they must make their own way to the office (public transport I suppose) and will then be given a pool car for their daily duties.
They live in the countryside... It's a 20 minute walk to the nearest bus stop, then 2 busses and a train to reach the new office. That would take about 2 hours each way... Compared to a*****
Not to mention they specifically bought a car suitable for the job (lots of mileage on tricky country roads) - new/safe/comfortable/big enough - and the pool car is a Citroen C1. They won't even be able to fit all of the tools required for their job in the boot, not that they'll be able to carry them there on the bus in the first place.
Obviously they're not happy about the situation.
Do they have any rights to be allowed to continue commuting and using their own car as they have been for 5 years? Or can the new conditions be imposed even if it means they'll have to leave the job?
Submitted: 18 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.

OK thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

Please can you clarify whether the employer is refusing staff to use their own vehicles?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.

They are not refusing. They're just moving to an office with no parking nearby. So to continue using their own vehicle they'd need to park about a 1 hour walk from the office and make that walk several times a day when they need to go out to other offices.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

OK thank you for clarifying this; please leave it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience. Whilst there is nothing stopping them from asking to be allowed to commute by car, the employer will not be obliged to provide any parking facilities for them. So they could be allowed to continue commuting by car but to sort out their own parking, which unfortunately looks to be difficult.

What they could instead argue is that this is a redundancy situation. The Employment Rights Act 1996 defines a redundancy situation as one where there is a:

1. Business closure – where the whole of the employer’s business is closed

2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of one or more sites

3. Reduced requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind

The second option is the one which applies here so they can say that by moving offices the employer has created a redundancy situation and that they should offer the affected employees suitable alternative employment. However, as the new conditions are not suitable they do not have to accept them and should be made redundant instead and receive redundancy pay.

Of course that is not as ideal as being allowed to commute to work in the same way as before but at least it does offer something which is not just forcing through the new terms or being forced to leave with no compensation.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 16 days 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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