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Car/Private Fuel/Holiday Questions

(12 Posts)
meggles Mon 22-Aug-11 10:55:37

Morning ladies... I am only 13 weeks pregnant, and will let me work know that I'm preggers in a few weeks. We're a small company, with no HR, and i wanted to get all my 'ducks in a row' before I told them. I specifically need guidance on three things: (also my EDD is 25-Feb-12)

1- Holidays. I currently get 26 days holiday. They start 1-Nov thru 31-Oct. I am planning on starting my leave in mid-Feb. Do I need to take all 26 days from 1-Nov-11 thru start of leave? Or can these carry over to FY13?

2- Private Fuel. I have a fuel car, which I use for both business and private use. This appears on my P11D as a benefit. Can I continue to use whilst on leave?

3- Company Car. I have a company car, for both business and private use. Again, this appears on my P11D as a benefit. Can I continue to use whilst on full 12 month leave?

Thanks for any advice!!

Ellypoo Mon 22-Aug-11 14:22:59

Hiya Meggles - congratulations no your pregnancy!!
Right to answer your questions in order:
1. Unless you agree with your directors/boss that you can carry some leave forward, or are intending to return to work before the end of your leave year, you will need to take your 26 days holiday + accrued bank holidays before your maternity leave starts (ie bank holidays that fall during your mat leave) - seems crazy to be able to add the bank holidays when you aren't at work anyway, but that's the case (of course, you don't need to take them if you don't want to).
2 & 3. You are entitled to all contractual benefits during your maternity leave period, except pay. Therefore, you will still be entitled to your company car and private fuel - you will still pay tax on this benefit, obviously. Incidentally, if you are part of a pension scheme that your employer pays into, you will still be entitled to the employer contributions, even if you take an employee contribution holiday.

Good luck!!

Grevling Tue 23-Aug-11 10:48:02

Might be worth asking them to stop the fuel payments while your on mat leave. Yes your entitled to them but you'll be surprised how little driving you'll do and the tax could out weigh the benefits in this case.

meggles Wed 24-Aug-11 21:47:21

That's a great point... My private fuel is £1800 added to salary. Let me work out if the tax I pay on that is worth it. My husband uses the car quite a bit, so it may be, but worth checking. Cheers

meggles Fri 09-Sep-11 09:26:01

morning.... I have told work that I am pregnant, and have asked our HR Consultant (we're too small a company to have an in-house, dedicted HR person) about Car/Fuel. This is the response I got:

"During your ordinary maternity leave (the first 26 weeks) you receive all of your contractual benefits except pay. During the additional maternity leave it is up to Manager what benefits you keep."

Is this correct? From what you said above, and from what I've read online, I think this is incorrect and I should get contractual benefits (ie car & private fuel) through full 52 weeks.

Any advice most appreciated.

flowery Fri 09-Sep-11 09:48:32

Seriously? Your company is paying an external HR consultant who doesn't know basic employment law? They need a new one immediately, that's absolutely shockingly bad.

You get contractual benefits throughout maternity leave and that has been the case for years now.

I see you haven't had a link yet, so here you go.

The only remaining difference between ordinary mat leave and additional mat leave is that if you return after ordinary, you get your own job back, and if you return after additional, you get an equivalent if your own job isn't available. That's it. Your rights remain the same during both, and your SMP runs out in the middle of AML.

Seriously that is absolutely shocking of the HR consultant and if that's an example of the extent of his/her employment law knowledge they are a complete waste of money and are putting your employer at risk of a claim due to poor advice.

meggles Fri 09-Sep-11 10:57:26

FLOWERY - thanks for the 'ammunition'. Yes, this is a PAID outside consultant, not some 'fly by night' person. SHOCKING!!!

Two specific questions:
1- The link discusses 'Statutory Maternity Leave'. Is this the same as OML+AML?
2- The link does mention that if the contractual benefit is for sole business use, it can be suspended. Therefore, my laptop & mobile could be suspended. But my car & fuel cannot, as it clearly states in my contract that its for both business & personal.

Cutting & pasting from my employee handbook (updated in April 2011!!!!):

This is the first 26 weeks of maternity leave and the contract of employment continue and you will continue to receive all your contractual benefits except wages or salary (unless otherwise agreed)

This is the second 26 weeks of maternity leave and begins at the end of OML. During this period your contract of employment continues but only certain terms of the contract apply. See point 3.2.7.

Whilst on Additional Maternity Leave you may be required to return any Company vehicle, lap top computer, mobile telephone, Company credit card or any other Company equipment.

flowery Fri 09-Sep-11 12:18:13

1 - Yes statutory maternity leave means the maternity leave you are entitled to by law, so both OML and AML.
2 - Yes if you just use your laptop and mobile for work, they could ask you to return them, as they are business tools rather than benefits.

In all seriousness you should get your boss to get a refund from the HR consultant in question, as their lack of knowledge is making the business very vulnerable. If your boss relied purely on what the consultant said, you could bring a legal claim against him. If he/she can't rely on the advice this 'expert' is giving they are completely useless to the company, as is the documentation they are providing.

Sorry, this is what I do so I have absolutely zero tolerance for fellow 'professionals' who market themselves as experts to business owners who have no alternative but to trust them.

meggles Fri 09-Sep-11 13:49:49

I emailed the consultant, provided the link, and ask them to clarify their previous statement. I got the following reply:

"My statement re. benefits depends on whether for example, the car, phone, lap top, etc. are provided for business use, as I believe your role involves travel, then they can be taken back during the additional maternity leave. Regardless of whether you get private use, if the car is given as business use, then this is not classed as a benefit that will continue into the additional maternity leave."

I'm going to get nowhere with this consultant.... where do I go from here? I know I'm only (16) weeks along... and have ages to go... but this has major financial consequences....

flowery Fri 09-Sep-11 13:51:20

I would ignore the consultant and go straight to your boss tbh.

meggles Fri 09-Sep-11 14:38:59

So.... I work for one office (small, no HR), but have been 'loaned' to a larger company for the last 18 months. This larger company has a dedicated HR person.

I just went upstairs to ask her... She agrees 100% with FLOWERY.... She asked that I forward her the external consultant's email and she will 'stand up for my rights'.


meggles Fri 09-Sep-11 15:08:38

the HR at the larger company I'm 'on loan' to just emailed me. she has looked on a subscription professional HR website they subscribe to, which states:

"During the period of additional maternity leave, the employee's contract of employment continues in force and she is entitled to receive all of her contractual benefits, except for salary. Any benefits in kind (such as life assurance, private medical insurance, permanent health insurance, private use of a company car, laptop, mobile phone and gym membership) will continue and contractual annual leave entitlement will continue to accrue.

It further states under the employment law section "The employee's terms and conditions of employment other than those relating to salary continue to apply during both ordinary and additional maternity leave. In particular, benefits in kind must continue to be provided and contractual annual leave continue to accrue. Pension payments during additional maternity leave depend on statutory maternity pay being paid".

So THERE!!! If it hadn't have been for Mumsnet & Flowerly, I would have accepted what the dim-wit consultant had said, and would be have been out £6,000 (price of hiring a car for 6 months)

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