Company Car - Can they take it away?

(11 Posts)
terry12 Mon 28-Nov-16 15:33:05

Wondering if anyone can help me as I'm not sure what my rights are.
I was in a job that had a company car as part of the package. I was in that job for 3 years, the employer asked me if I wanted to do another role within the company. I would keep the salary that I was on and the company and phone would stay too. I said yes to the new job as I wanted to be a company person and do whats best for them. I did not sign any contract or anything and after 2 months into the new job they said they wanted to take the car away as I didn't require it for my new role.
I said to them that's fine as long as you can adjust my salary accordingly they can take the car away. However they refused to adjust my salary and then finally they said they would give me a one off payment of £1000 - which I said was insufficient. I explained to them that if I took the £1000, I would have to buy another car and pay insurance, maintenance and that the one off payment was woefully insufficient. The company have given me a week after which they will take my car off me and I will not get any compensation after that (the £1000 one off payment they offered)
Does anyone where I stand, do I have any options, can I refuse to give up my car? Would appreciate any help

Thanks

MissusDave Mon 28-Nov-16 15:36:29

The short answer is - check your original contract, and any company policy that is currently in place about company cars and/or other benefits. It should all be in writing somewhere, so that you are clear what you agreed to a) when you first took the job and b) when you accepted this new position. If it's not clear from those documents then I would have thought you might have some grounds for negotiation with the company. Essentially what you need to identify is whether the company car is a guaranteed part of your package or if it's a bonus (which they can take away).

Hallamoo Mon 28-Nov-16 15:43:34

I'm not an employment lawyer, but have been in a similar position. I was offered a promotion which was office based so no need for a company car, however, this was made clear to me when I was offered the promotion.

I think you'll probably find somewhere in your contract or terms & conditions that it will make some provision for job changes and requirements to travel/need for a company car.

My husband was also in a similar position, where the company he worked for changed the eligibility criteria for a company car, based on doing a certain number of business miles in the previous year. My husband still qualified as he travels a lot in his job, but some people didn't qualify under the new criteria - I think they were allowed to keep the car until the end of the lease period, but they weren't entitled to another one. Perhaps you could ask for that?

terry12 Mon 28-Nov-16 16:01:05

Hi thanks for the reply. I have been with the company for nearly 20 years, i signed a contract back then when I first started. When I took up the post 3 years ago for which I was given a company car I didn't sign any additional contract. The car was essential for that role as it involved meeting clients etc. This was a promotion for me.
After 3 years the employer asked if I wanted to do a different role within the company and that I would keep the salary and car phone etc I agreed but again no contract or anything was signed. So now essentially I am in my new role but will soon have less money as I will need to purchase a car ( which I don't mind doing) but I have additional costs now which I didn't have before like car insurance, car maintenance etc which make's me worse of financially than I was in my previous role.

Hallamoo Mon 28-Nov-16 16:07:59

Hmm, but you will pay less tax if you don't have a company car, so maybe that will offset your extra costs?

Companies aren't obliged to give employees a company car, and many companies are phasing them out. If there's nothing in your contract about it, I don't think you have much leverage, sorry.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Mon 28-Nov-16 16:17:19

I'm not sure you'll be any worse off will you?

DB is very money-wise and never takes the company car offered with his job (Financial Controller), as he is says it is not financially sensible to do so. I'm pretty sure he does get an extra payment for not having one though - although I'm unsure how that works!

On the face of it, it sounds reasonable that you only had use of a company car whilst you needed one for work. Without knowing the posts involved, I'm unsure whether it's reasonable to move you to a different position without a pay rise.

flowery Mon 28-Nov-16 22:10:15

So you had a company car for 3 years, and were then offered a new job for £x salary + company car, which you accepted? Sounds to me as though your company car is a contractual benefit, so no they can't just take it away.

Do you have anything in writing making you the offer or was it all verbal?

OllyBJolly Tue 29-Nov-16 11:13:05

DB is very money-wise and never takes the company car offered with his job (Financial Controller), as he is says it is not financially sensible to do so. I'm pretty sure he does get an extra payment for not having one though - although I'm unsure how that works!

If he gets a car allowance rather than a car then it makes sense to take the car allowance (as long as it's reasonable). As an FC he won't do a lot of business miles.

If you are a sales person or similar then it does make sense to take a company car rather than have to pay for high wear and tear as a result of heavy mileage.

In the OP's case, it hinges on whether it's a contractual benefit or whether it is a vehicle provided to enable the job.

HermioneWeasley Tue 29-Nov-16 19:53:48

Agree, you need to see if there's anything that specifies it's a perk rather than a job needs car

BrieAndChilli Tue 29-Nov-16 19:59:16

I think for tax purposes there are rules for which employees are eligible for a company car, don't think that they can just give company cars to anyone

flowery Tue 29-Nov-16 21:01:19

"After 3 years the employer asked if I wanted to do a different role within the company and that I would keep the salary and car"

Seems to me that it was a tool of the job in the previous role the OP was in, but isn't an essential tool for this job. That's all fine, but she accepted the new job she was offered on the basis that the package included a (non-essential) car. Now they are trying to take it away after she's already started in the new role.

If they were clear upfront that the car was only applicable to certain jobs for which it is an essential tool, then fair enough, and the OP would have had the opportunity to make an informed decision. But they offered a car as part of the package, she decided to accept the job on that basis, and now they are reneging on that.

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