Q: A downturn in business caused by COVID19 has resulted in me being made redundant. I do not have to work my two months’ notice but am being paid in lieu of it, plus I will be paid for unused holiday. However, my employment package includes a company car which the bosses say they want back the day I go. This is going to make life particularly difficult for me getting to interviews etc, as we only have one family car and my wife needs that to take the kids to school and get to her own work. Can the bosses force me to hand back the car?
A: If you have a contract which includes the car as a necessary tool for your job, and which acknowledges the car as part of your contractual package, then you are entitled to retain it until the end of your notice period, irrespective of whether you are still working or have effectively left the job. Alternatively, your employer must compensate you for the loss of the company car until the end of the notice period. The only way an employer can avoid paying compensation for the loss of a company car is if the right to do so is written into the employee’s contract of employment.
So, if the car is part of your package and your right to compensation in lieu of it is not excluded in your contract, your employer will be in breach of your contract if they take the car off you prior to the end of your notice period. You should point this out and try to resolve the matter amicably in the first instance. If that fails, you can raise a grievance against your employer within the time limit to make a tribunal claim and speak to a lawyer who can advise whether you are also entitled to financial compensation.
This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
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