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Unfair Mileage Reclaim

(19 Posts)
SurfBored73 Wed 05-Apr-17 21:05:44

I'm hoping for some HR opinions before approaching my line manager or my own HR department.

I have an outbased role that takes me all over the UK and usually I drive. My two previous roles were outbased and I always claimed my mileage from my home address. I live on the south coast but our head office is way, way up north so I was told to choose a nominated office. I chose the closest one which is in central London. When I submitted my first mileage claim I detailed all journeys from my home address but was told by my line manager it was wrong, my journeys should start and end from the London address. This was never explained to me when I joined the company. The claim was signed off anyway but I was told claim from London in the future.

90% of my destinations are north of London so every time I leave home I lose out on about 50 miles each way. As a result, I tend to stay away from home Mon-Fri in order to minimise the cost but that is becoming difficult to manage - I want to spend more time at home.

It occurred to me that if I moved to, say, Buckinghamshire I would actually make money on the journeys and presumably other outbased staff in the company are doing exactly that. So, my query is this - is it fair that I am losing money because of my post code? It feels almost like I'm discriminated against because of where I live.

My second query is how do I address this internally? The last time I went to HR (to enquire about the travel arrangement) my line manager told me that I had embarrassed and upset him because he had to clarify the situation and he basically told me to shut up and barely gave me the option to explain the situation. As a result, I don't feel I can approach him about the subject and I am worried about going to HR in case he blows up about it again - not a good career move.

I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. I either continue to work away Mon-Fri, reduce my travel costs but lose time at home or I come home once or twice a week and pay the price.

I want to ask HR why I am losing out but I am fearful of the consequences.

Hoppinggreen Wed 05-Apr-17 22:25:00

I'm not an expert but my understanding is that you can't claim mileage from home to your normal place of work, only between work sites.
However I'm not sure how it should work in your case. If you officially work from home then you can claim mileage from home but if not you can't.

StereophonicallyChallenged Wed 05-Apr-17 22:32:40

I would say that your company are using a 'nominated' office to avoid paying you all the mileage due. Hmrc would allow you to claim mileage from home if you have no permanent place of work. Hth.

CotswoldStrife Wed 05-Apr-17 22:49:01

You could contact the HMRC helpline to check (I wouldn't mention the previous job paying from home though!) as normally the journey is from one workplace to another (which nominating an office would achieve which I guess is why the company have done this.)

I am no expert on travel/mileage as it used to be handled by our Finance and Payroll (the tax experts!) but I think it might be something to do with not using the journey to return home.

I don't think it would be considered discrimination though. Are there any company policies you can check on an intranet, just wondering why if you asked HR they checked with your manager? Are there any teams working the same way under a different line manager?

Crumbs1 Wed 05-Apr-17 22:50:20

I'm a designated home worker so,get paid mileage and (theoretically) time from outside my front door. I get parking at the station and train tickets when I go up to London.
My husband cannot be a designated home worker and was using London as his designated office which meant he had to pay for travel to London, couldn't claim hotels in London and mileage was deducted from overall distance. He was fortunate to be in a position where he could insist on opening an office five minutes down the road as his companies registered office and his designated workplace. He now gets all travel and hotels paid.
It does seem unfair sometimes. In our organisation it is the lower paid office based staff who have to fork out for travel.

highinthesky Wed 05-Apr-17 22:55:09

If you are field based, you should be entitled to claim expenses from home. It sounds to me as though HO has you employed as office based, so that is the status you should be challenging. Unless it was made clear at the time of appointment that you were to be office based and the boss has agreed to you wfh as a favour?

I'm not overly impressed with your line manager's handling of this, btw. Intimidating you is not a good style to adopt.

SurfBored73 Wed 05-Apr-17 23:48:48

Thanks. My line manager is very difficult to judge which is why I'm fearful of approaching him. Other people have described him variously as a bully, intimidating and displaying bipolar characteristics. He's a control freak and likes to micro-manage which is why he gets involved. It's almost as if his thoughts are more important than company policy and he boasts that he had it written into his contract that he can claim his mileage from home even though there is scope in the travel policy for outbased workers. I think Highinthesky is right, it might be my status as office worker that I need to challenge. If I can pluck up the courage to risk asking the question. I will check out HMRC guidelines, though, perhaps I can get tax relief on those unpaid miles.

daisychain01 Thu 06-Apr-17 04:15:34

I agree that the key point is where you are deemed to be based.

If you are classed by your employer as field based, then your base is Home. This sounds like your best option to ensure you get all your actual mileage expenditure reimbursed, rather than losing out because you are many miles away from London and your business is all up north.

If you are classed as an office worker, then you are only meant to claim mileage from your office because the rule is that your journeys to and from the office are not classed as company mileage, they are deemed transportation to/from Place of Work.

Your boss sounds unreasonable, in terms of not giving you support to ensure you are fairly reimbursed, and also his general attitude to you.

Definitely argue for you to be classed as a field worker.

daisychain01 Thu 06-Apr-17 07:31:54

90% of my destinations are north of London so every time I leave home I lose out on about 50 miles each way.

Your boss doesn't have a leg to stand on, if you can evidence precedent (which is what the Inland Revenue is interested in):

- you never have to go to your London office
- you incur additional expense by staying in hotels during the week. Accommodation is a justifiable business expense so they ought to be reimbursing that as well as the correct mileage.

You would argue that if all your work was located from Brighton to Poole (as an example) you'd be able to travel to those places from your home address.

my line manager told me that I had embarrassed and upset him because he had to clarify the situation and he basically told me to shut up and barely gave me the option to explain the situation.

I would book a meeting direct with HR. Tell them your manager's approach is unreasonable:

- Take a list of your past few months' work, to evidence the above work pattern.
- talk to them about your contractual office location, which you believe should be changed to a field worker based on the precedent of where you have been working for the past x months/years
- you have reason to believe this is a permanent arrangement. You have never been told by your manager that it is only for a set timeframe.

While you're at it, mention It is putting you in financial hardship and your work/life balance is being eroded because of this situation. Take notes and minutes of the meeting.

daisychain01 Thu 06-Apr-17 08:20:34

Sorry, HMRC I should say.

SurfBored73 Thu 06-Apr-17 11:58:04

I had a call with the HR manager this morning and while she said I couldn't make my claims from my home address she has agreed that I can change my nominated office to somewhere 30 miles closer. I'm quite happy about that. However, I asked her not to speak to my LM directly because of the rumpus that will cause. I will speak to him when I see him next week. Could be fun!

CotswoldStrife Thu 06-Apr-17 12:17:31

A resolution of sorts, but you said in your OP that you'd picked the closest office already? Good luck speaking to your LM!

highinthesky Thu 06-Apr-17 12:28:35

Well I'm pleased that this has been resolved to your satisfaction. (Your chances now of changing your status as field-based are pretty much zero, though). I also hope the HR manager has at least made a file note of the fact that you fear your LM's reaction.

From the totality of your posts on this thread, it sounds as though the has plenty behavioural issues that could be improved, to put it kindly!

SurfBored73 Thu 06-Apr-17 12:50:17

Cotswold - I was given a choice of two offices when I joined and chose the closest one. The location that is 30 miles closer wasn't even mentioned at the time.

High - yes, there are still challenges ahead with LM but I am learning to choose my battles with him. I need to win this one but I know his reaction next week will not be exactly friendly.

highinthesky Thu 06-Apr-17 13:04:07

Well take courage, and let us know how it goes with your LM?

He might not be friendly, but remember you have to be sweetness and light. Come back to the thread if there are specific things you need advice on. Arsehole boss behaviour needs to be challenged, and hard.

Algebraic Thu 06-Apr-17 13:13:48

At my last place of work the contractors could claim mileage from home to a job site, but not home to an office. But if they didn't need to come to the office and went straight to site then I would process the whole claim until they returned home again. I believe that 'your usual place of work' cannot be claimed for.

Doesn't make sense for you though, I really don't understand why you have to claim from the office. Unless you are due to be there everyday before you commence travel?

daisychain01 Thu 06-Apr-17 15:11:26

I expect you've decided to pick your battles carefully on this one OP. You've been able to achieve that location concession by highlighting you are losing out, sounds like it's 'blood out of a stone' though. And the fact your LM is smug about his own circumstances getting himself sorted but not being prepared to help you, makes him deeply unpleasant.

SurfBored73 Thu 06-Apr-17 18:54:52

Algebraic I do sometimes go to the London office and I can't claim for that either. It's about £65 on the train.

He's not unpleasant, really, and I get on ok with him but he's very much a company man (no bad thing) so tends to be immoveable on policy.

I will update here after the conversation next week. Thanks for your comments.

SurfBored73 Sun 16-Apr-17 13:19:51

In conclusion: I spoke with LM in the week and made my request. He didn't even blink and said OK. Success!

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