Fleet News

Homeworking causing commute cost conundrum, says AFP

Driver behind wheel of her car

The classification of journeys is causing a headache for fleets, because of the rise of homeworking due to coronavirus, says the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP).

Describing the problem as ‘The New Commute’, the AFP says that problems revolve around whether an employee’s home is now officially their place of work.

AFP chairman Paul Hollick explained: “If someone is working from home rather than the office, then it raises the question of which is actually their place of work. This is important when it comes to both expenses and risk management.

“For example, if someone now drives their own car to the office once a week, are they allowed to reclaim their travel costs using AMAP rates, as they would for any other business journey that they undertake?

“The other major issue is whether, if someone now uses their own car to travel from home to work, whether that is now seen as a business journey from a risk management point of view, rather a commute.”

HMRC rules

Hollick says that the HMRC rules in this area were often inconsistently applied. Normally, they were based on the employee’s contract of employment showing that they were home-based but there was also a reasonableness test, to ensure that the employee is working from home rather than the office for a proportionally greater length to time.

“As always with points of taxation,” Hollick explains, “it is better to have hard and fast rules but these are open to local interpretation and fleets can potentially suffer from a lack of uniformity.”

He added that the issue of risk management was probably clearer but also open to some degree of interpretation.

“Any employees who work from home for the majority of time but sometimes visit the office using their own vehicles have, strictly speaking, all become grey fleet – and should be subject to all the usual grey fleet management practices,” he said.

“Again, we have yet to hear from any fleets who have been in touch with the Health and Safety Executive about this but it is an area that would benefit from future clarification.”

The pandemic is creating a series of questions for fleets that AFP members were currently discussing and to which they were attempting to find solutions.

“The New Commute is just one of a series of issues that we are working hard to resolve for members but sharing best practice ideas,” said Hollick.

“It is at times such as now, when so much surrounding fleet management is fluid, that the AFP can really add value.”

The AFP was formed in March from the merging of the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) and the Institute of Car Fleet Management (ICFM).

Virtual Fleet & Mobility Live 2020: The virtual fleet expo

Video: Fleet News editor-in-chief Stephen Briers and events director Chris Lester introduce the 2020 virtual event and give a preview of what it will look like.

The annual event was due to take place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 6-7 but as a result of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and after consultation with the visitor advisory board, Fleet News has taken the decision to hold an online event in November instead.

Among the exclusive features at the virtual event will be a special EV & Hybrid Showroom which will bring to life the latest electric models with interactive displays that will enable you to get up close to the UK’s best fleet suppliers.

Visitors and exhibitors will be able to communicate through live chat, participate in live Q&As, ‘visit’ branded booths, and find out about industry-leading technology solutions.

The decision to go virtual was made easier by the fact that around 40% of fleets already have, or expect to shortly have, a company travel ban that would prevent them from attending live events this year, while a similar proportion did not anticipate attending live events until sometime in 2021.

 

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