Homeworking creating expense and risk management issues, warns AFP
The switch to home working in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic could spell expense and risk management issues for fleets when it comes to classifying journeys.
The Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) says that the ‘The New Commute’ brings issues around whether an employee’s home is now officially their place of work.
Paul Hollick, AFP chair, 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 in these areas are not black and white. Hollick explained that, normally, it would be 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, 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.”
And while risk management is perhaps clearer, Hollick said this too was 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.
“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.”
These are just some of the latest issue that the AFP, which was formed in March from the merging of the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) and the Institute of Car Fleet Management (ICFM), is looking to help members with and provide best practice advice on.
“It is at times such as now, when so much surrounding fleet management is fluid, that the AFP can really add value,” summarised Hollick.