Sustainable Transport for Companies?



M

MatSav

Guest
I have become aware of an employer who has been given six bikes
for use by their staff, to help develop a sustainable transport
policy (car sharing, etc). However, they won't release the bikes
for staff use because the position as regards maintenance and
safety of these "company vehicles" has been questioned. No-one
wants to take responsibility for maintaining the bikes, and some
staff have questioned whether their employment contracts can
force them to use these machines! Is there any evidence or case
studies to show fears of being prosecuted are unsound, so that
the employer may be persuaded to release the bikes for use by
their employees?

--
MatSav
 
M

Martin Dann

Guest
MatSav wrote:
> I have become aware of an employer who has been given six bikes
> for use by their staff, to help develop a sustainable transport
> policy (car sharing, etc). However, they won't release the bikes
> for staff use because the position as regards maintenance and
> safety of these "company vehicles" has been questioned. No-one
> wants to take responsibility for maintaining the bikes,


If it is a small company, and only six people are interested in using
these bikes, then the company could hire/lend them with the proviso that
the person using the bike is responsible for maintenance, using the
bikeabiliy scheme as a comparison.

> and some
> staff have questioned whether their employment contracts can
> force them to use these machines!


That sounds a bit AAT, the company won't let any employees use them, as
the employees might complain that they are being forced to use them.

I think that if the employees are worried about this, then they could
request the company give them an assurance in writing that no-one will
be forced to ride a bike.

Is there any evidence or case
> studies to show fears of being prosecuted are unsound, so that
> the employer may be persuaded to release the bikes for use by
> their employees?
>
 
B

burtthebike

Guest
"MatSav" <matthew | dot | savage | at | dsl | dot | pipex | dot | com> wrote
in message news:[email protected]
>I have become aware of an employer who has been given six bikes for use by
>their staff, to help develop a sustainable transport policy (car sharing,
>etc). However, they won't release the bikes for staff use because the
>position as regards maintenance and safety of these "company vehicles" has
>been questioned. No-one wants to take responsibility for maintaining the
>bikes, and some staff have questioned whether their employment contracts
>can force them to use these machines! Is there any evidence or case studies
>to show fears of being prosecuted are unsound, so that the employer may be
>persuaded to release the bikes for use by their employees?
>
> --
> MatSav


We have three pool bikes in our building and they are relatively well used.
To cover the H& S maniacs, I check them out once a month, brakes, tyres,
general condition, and once a year they get a service from the local bike
shop.
>
>
 
J

Jon

Guest
On 30 Jan, 23:56, "MatSav" <matthew | dot | savage | at | dsl | dot |
pipex | dot | com> wrote:
> I have become aware of an employer who has been given six bikes
> for use by their staff, to help develop a sustainable transport
> policy (car sharing, etc). However, they won't release the bikes
> for staff use because the position as regards maintenance and
> safety of these "company vehicles" has been questioned.


Depends whether they are allocated to individual employees as 'company
cars' often are, and can be used for both work and personal trips, or
kept as pool vehicles for general use by staff travelling in the
course of their work.

If they are taken home on loan by individuals, then either:
- the agreement makes the user responsible for maintainence, or
- the employer has them serviced regularly and has reported defects
remedied.

If they are kept as pool vehicles then the employer is repsponsible
for them as they are with any type of pool vehicle.


> some
> staff have questioned whether their employment contracts can
> force them to use these machines!


Unless their contracts specify that they are entitled to make business
journeys by car, their employer could refuse to pay car mileage for
journeys which could reasonably have been made with a pool bicycle
instead, and could probably refuse to pay for time wasted through
insisting on using a car when a bicycle would have been faster. An
employee might be able to insist that they were fit to drive but
physically incapable of cycling, but they would have to be classified
as being disabled to have this treated as a "reasonable adjustment".

Jon
 
N

Nick Kew

Guest
On Wed, 30 Jan 2008 23:56:37 -0000
"MatSav" <matthew | dot | savage | at | dsl | dot | pipex | dot | com>
wrote:

> I have become aware of an employer who has been given six bikes
> for use by their staff, to help develop a sustainable transport
> policy (car sharing, etc). However, they won't release the bikes
> for staff use because the position as regards maintenance and
> safety of these "company vehicles" has been questioned.


I expect noone at the company is qualified, so that makes sense.
Contract the job out to a friendly LBS: each bike gets checked
at [some specified interval], LBS gets paid time and materials
according to agreed budget.

Surely any literature about running a fleet of company cars
(a sadly over-popular activity) should provide a template!

--
Nick Kew

Application Development with Apache - the Apache Modules Book
http://www.apachetutor.org/
 
On Jan 31, 11:43 am, Jon <[email protected]> wrote:
> Unless their contracts specify that they are entitled to make business
> journeys by car, their employer could refuse to pay car mileage for
> journeys which could reasonably have been made with a pool bicycle
> instead, and could probably refuse to pay for time wasted through
> insisting on using a car when a bicycle would have been faster. An
> employee might be able to insist that they were fit to drive but
> physically incapable of cycling, but they would have to be classified
> as being disabled to have this treated as a "reasonable adjustment".


I doubt if an employee could be penalised for using a car if their
contract didn't say anything about means of transport. However,
there's no reason why those who use the bikes couldn't be given a
bonus of some sort.

Rob
 
I

Ian Smith

Guest
On Thu, 31 Jan 2008, [email protected] <> wrote:
> On Jan 31, 11:43 am, Jon <[email protected]> wrote:
> > Unless their contracts specify that they are entitled to make business
> > journeys by car, their employer could refuse to pay car mileage for
> > journeys which could reasonably have been made with a pool bicycle
> > instead, and could probably refuse to pay for time wasted through
> > insisting on using a car when a bicycle would have been faster. An
> > employee might be able to insist that they were fit to drive but
> > physically incapable of cycling, but they would have to be classified
> > as being disabled to have this treated as a "reasonable adjustment".

>
> I doubt if an employee could be penalised for using a car if their
> contract didn't say anything about means of transport. However,
> there's no reason why those who use the bikes couldn't be given a
> bonus of some sort.


On the other hand, if the contract says that a mileage rate will be
paid to employees using their own private car on necessary journeys
(for the purpose of carrying out their role), the provision of pool
bicycles renders the (hypothetical) car journey unnecessary, so there's
no need to pay the mileage. It's not penalising the driver - it's
simply not rewarding them for doing something outside their contract.

regards, Ian SMith
--
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|/ \|
 
I

Ian Smith

Guest
On Thu, 31 Jan 2008 12:38:22 -0000, PK <[email protected]> wrote:
> <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> On Jan 31, 11:43 am, Jon <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> However, there's no reason why those who use the bikes couldn't be
> given a bonus of some sort.
>
> indirect discrimination against anyone unable to use a bike?


No more than paying mileage rate for car journeys is discrimination
against those that can't drive

regards, Ian SMith
--
|\ /| no .sig
|o o|
|/ \|
 
E

Ekul Namsob

Guest
<[email protected]> wrote:

> On Jan 31, 11:43 am, Jon <[email protected]> wrote:
> > Unless their contracts specify that they are entitled to make business
> > journeys by car, their employer could refuse to pay car mileage for
> > journeys which could reasonably have been made with a pool bicycle
> > instead, and could probably refuse to pay for time wasted through
> > insisting on using a car when a bicycle would have been faster. An
> > employee might be able to insist that they were fit to drive but
> > physically incapable of cycling, but they would have to be classified
> > as being disabled to have this treated as a "reasonable adjustment".

>
> I doubt if an employee could be penalised for using a car if their
> contract didn't say anything about means of transport. However,
> there's no reason why those who use the bikes couldn't be given a
> bonus of some sort.


They wouldn't be penalised for using a car, they would be penalised for
timewasting. Once a year, I and many colleagues make work experience
visits to various parts of the local area. I almost always travel by car
as I need to make the visit during a free period, when I am not
teaching.

If I were to catch the train into Bolton then I would be wasting school
time. Likewise, I have known staff be criticised because they got stuck
in traffic when making a visit to somewhere on the local high street,
all of four hundred yards away.

Cheers,
Luke


--
Red Rose Ramblings, the diary of an Essex boy in
exile in Lancashire <http://www.shrimper.org.uk>
 
J

JNugent

Guest
Martin Dann wrote:

> MatSav wrote:


>> I have become aware of an employer who has been given six bikes for
>> use by their staff, to help develop a sustainable transport policy
>> (car sharing, etc). However, they won't release the bikes for staff
>> use because the position as regards maintenance and safety of these
>> "company vehicles" has been questioned. No-one wants to take
>> responsibility for maintaining the bikes,


> If it is a small company, and only six people are interested in using
> these bikes, then the company could hire/lend them with the proviso that
> the person using the bike is responsible for maintenance, using the
> bikeabiliy scheme as a comparison.


>> and some staff have questioned whether their employment contracts can
>> force them to use these machines!


> That sounds a bit AAT, the company won't let any employees use them, as
> the employees might complain that they are being forced to use them.


> I think that if the employees are worried about this, then they could
> request the company give them an assurance in writing that no-one will
> be forced to ride a bike.


Not necessary, surely?

All the individual objector needs to do is tell the employer (if ever
asked) that they cannot ride a bike and do not wish to learn.
 
J

JNugent

Guest
Jon wrote:

> 23:56, "MatSav" <matthew | dot | savage | at | dsl | dot | pipex | dot | com> wrote:


>>I have become aware of an employer who has been given six bikes
>>for use by their staff, to help develop a sustainable transport
>>policy (car sharing, etc). However, they won't release the bikes
>>for staff use because the position as regards maintenance and
>>safety of these "company vehicles" has been questioned.


> Depends whether they are allocated to individual employees as 'company
> cars' often are, and can be used for both work and personal trips, or
> kept as pool vehicles for general use by staff travelling in the
> course of their work.
> If they are taken home on loan by individuals, then either:
> - the agreement makes the user responsible for maintainence, or
> - the employer has them serviced regularly and has reported defects
> remedied.
> If they are kept as pool vehicles then the employer is repsponsible
> for them as they are with any type of pool vehicle.


>>some staff have questioned whether their employment contracts can
>>force them to use these machines!


> Unless their contracts specify that they are entitled to make business
> journeys by car, their employer could refuse to pay car mileage for
> journeys which could reasonably have been made with a pool bicycle
> instead, and could probably refuse to pay for time wasted through
> insisting on using a car when a bicycle would have been faster.


A quick way to achieve almost-automatic refusal to make the journey at
all (on the ground - irrespective of the belief or assertions of
others - that it isn't safe). I don't think many employers are
foolhardy enough to insist that an employee hostile to the notion
should nevertheless use a bicycle. It has to be voluntary.

> An employee might be able to insist that they were fit to drive but
> physically incapable of cycling, but they would have to be classified
> as being disabled to have this treated as a "reasonable adjustment".


I think most employers value their employees more highly than that.
 
J

JNugent

Guest
Ian Smith wrote:
> On Thu, 31 Jan 2008, [email protected] <> wrote:
>
>> On Jan 31, 11:43 am, Jon <[email protected]> wrote:
>>
>>>Unless their contracts specify that they are entitled to make business
>>>journeys by car, their employer could refuse to pay car mileage for
>>>journeys which could reasonably have been made with a pool bicycle
>>>instead, and could probably refuse to pay for time wasted through
>>>insisting on using a car when a bicycle would have been faster. An
>>>employee might be able to insist that they were fit to drive but
>>>physically incapable of cycling, but they would have to be classified
>>>as being disabled to have this treated as a "reasonable adjustment".

>>
>> I doubt if an employee could be penalised for using a car if their
>> contract didn't say anything about means of transport. However,
>> there's no reason why those who use the bikes couldn't be given a
>> bonus of some sort.

>
>
> On the other hand, if the contract says that a mileage rate will be
> paid to employees using their own private car on necessary journeys
> (for the purpose of carrying out their role), the provision of pool
> bicycles renders the (hypothetical) car journey unnecessary, so there's
> no need to pay the mileage. It's not penalising the driver - it's
> simply not rewarding them for doing something outside their contract.
>
> regards, Ian SMith


"Mileage" is not a reward. It's compensation for costs incurred.

How many employers would be prepared to push such a draconian policy
as far as the death of someone who was forced to use a bike but would
have been safer (and more importantly, would have felt safer) in their
car?
 
J

JNugent

Guest
Ian Smith wrote:
> On Thu, 31 Jan 2008 12:38:22 -0000, PK <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>><[email protected]> wrote in message
>> news:[email protected]...
>> On Jan 31, 11:43 am, Jon <[email protected]> wrote:
>>
>> However, there's no reason why those who use the bikes couldn't be
>> given a bonus of some sort.
>>
>> indirect discrimination against anyone unable to use a bike?

>
>
> No more than paying mileage rate for car journeys is discrimination
> against those that can't drive


Mileage is not a reward.
 
I

Ian Smith

Guest
On Sat, 02 Feb, JNugent <[email protected]> wrote:
> Ian Smith wrote:
> >
> > On the other hand, if the contract says that a mileage rate will
> > be paid to employees using their own private car on necessary
> > journeys (for the purpose of carrying out their role), the
> > provision of pool bicycles renders the (hypothetical) car journey
> > unnecessary, so there's no need to pay the mileage. It's not
> > penalising the driver - it's simply not rewarding them for doing
> > something outside their contract.

>
> "Mileage" is not a reward. It's compensation for costs incurred.


Not at the rates paid by most companies (near the upper limit of the
rate allowed by HMRC) - when I did significant work mileage I never
spent as much on my car in a year as I got paid as mileage.

You seem to be advocating that companies should pay people
compensation for costs incurred in doing things the company doesn't
want done. Should I claim a payout from my company for buying myself
a new lawn mower?

regards, Ian SMith
--
|\ /| no .sig
|o o|
|/ \|
 
J

JNugent

Guest
Ian Smith wrote:

> JNugent <[email protected]> wrote:
>> Ian Smith wrote:


>>>On the other hand, if the contract says that a mileage rate will
>>>be paid to employees using their own private car on necessary
>>>journeys (for the purpose of carrying out their role), the
>>>provision of pool bicycles renders the (hypothetical) car journey
>>>unnecessary, so there's no need to pay the mileage. It's not
>>>penalising the driver - it's simply not rewarding them for doing
>>>something outside their contract.


>> "Mileage" is not a reward. It's compensation for costs incurred.


> Not at the rates paid by most companies (near the upper limit of the
> rate allowed by HMRC) - when I did significant work mileage I never
> spent as much on my car in a year as I got paid as mileage.


That is almost certainly a misperception or a citation of an atypical
case.

The HMRC rates (which, incidentally, have not increased for quite a
few years, despite a rise in the price of fuel of around 100% since
the last rise) are set so as to cover an apportioned segment of all
the costs of running the vehicle. That includes the fixed costs
(interest on the loan or the interest foregone on the capital
employed, insurance, road tax, membership of a motoring organisation,
etc) as well as the obvious variable costs, depreciation with higher
mileage, servicing, repairs, fuel, oil, spares, etc. My guess is that
you did not include all of those costs in your estimate (or
alternatively, you were running a banger where depreciation wasn't an
issue). But rest assured, the government (and organisations like the
AA) don't forget about those costs; when you see headline amounts like
"£120 a week" to run a car, they have included all those things.

If the Revenue believed that the allowable amount represented a
profit, they'd reduce it. 40p a mile is not a profitable figure,
though it might enable some to buy "better" cars than they would
otherwise feel able to afford (because they're only really paying for
part of it and part of its use). That's the way it works.

> You seem to be advocating that companies should pay people
> compensation for costs incurred in doing things the company doesn't
> want done. Should I claim a payout from my company for buying myself
> a new lawn mower?


What a peculiar thing for you to say.

What I am saying is:

(a) companies cannot expect to peremptorily vary a contract (not even
a merely-implied contract) part-way through its currency; a good
example of why is the situation where an employee has just taken out a
loan to buy a new vehicle which they would not have bought had there
not been the prospect of part of the costs of the vehicle being met by
the company paying its share for its use*), and

(b) in any event, unless there was an express proviso at the time of
hiring, no company can expect an employee to travel by a method *they*
(the employee) think is inherently unsafe. Other peoples' opinions on
that (including the employer's and the government's opinions) are
irrelevant. AFAICS, insisting on employees cycling is something that
has not been seen since the days of the telegram messenger and the
butcher's boy. Re-starting it (and widening its scope) is a matter
which could never be achieved quickly.

I do about 15,000 business miles a year in my own car. I operate on
the model of buying a new car every four or five years, with the
expenses partly paying for it. The vehicles are worth bugger all as
trade-ins because of the high mileage they do (the last one had
110,000 miles on it at five years old). I am now about two years into
a finance deal. If my employer asked me to start cycling, for even
part of the journeys**, I would refuse on both grounds stated above.
The request would be, in the circumstances, simply unreasonable. It
would be well outside my interests to agree, and highly disruptive of
the employer/employee relationship* for them to insist (which they
wouldn't do - they're far too sensible for that).

[*Even if the proposition were simply that the employee should start
to use a "company car", a certain amount of notice might well be
required - possibly running into several years - in order to cover the
owners of nearly-new cars who would have to dispose of them and/or
make arrangements for settling loans without the hitherto-expected
part-assistance.]

[**I think you'd agree that 15,000 miles pa on a bike would not be a
starter in any case.]
 
I

Ian Smith

Guest
On Sat, 02 Feb, JNugent <[email protected]> wrote:
> Ian Smith wrote:
>
> > JNugent <[email protected]> wrote:
> >> Ian Smith wrote:

>
> >>>On the other hand, if the contract says that a mileage rate will
> >>>be paid to employees using their own private car on necessary
> >>>journeys (for the purpose of carrying out their role), the
> >>>provision of pool bicycles renders the (hypothetical) car journey
> >>>unnecessary, so there's no need to pay the mileage. It's not
> >>>penalising the driver - it's simply not rewarding them for doing
> >>>something outside their contract.

>
> >> "Mileage" is not a reward. It's compensation for costs incurred.

>
> > You seem to be advocating that companies should pay people
> > compensation for costs incurred in doing things the company doesn't
> > want done. Should I claim a payout from my company for buying myself
> > a new lawn mower?

>
> What a peculiar thing for you to say.


Not really. I simply advocated that companies not pay mileage for
non-essential car journeys. You seem to think this would be wrong,
suggesting you think companies should compensate people for costs not
required by their job or in their contract.

> What I am saying is:
>
> (a) companies cannot expect to peremptorily vary a contract (not even
> a merely-implied contract) part-way through its currency;


I'm not suggesting they do - I'm suggesting they apply the contract as
written.

> (b) in any event, unless there was an express proviso at the time of
> hiring, no company can expect an employee to travel by a method *they*
> (the employee) think is inherently unsafe.


In the scenario suggested, there is no implication of less safety.
Besides which, they could - if the job requires driving 15,000 miles
per year (for example) and the employee decides driving is unsafe, you
seem to be suggesting the employer simply change the job so it
doesn't require driving.

regards, Ian SMith
--
|\ /| no .sig
|o o|
|/ \|
 
J

JNugent

Guest
Ian Smith wrote:

> JNugent <[email protected]> wrote:
>> Ian Smith wrote:
>>>JNugent <[email protected]> wrote:
>>>>Ian Smith wrote:


>>>>>On the other hand, if the contract says that a mileage rate will
>>>>>be paid to employees using their own private car on necessary
>>>>>journeys (for the purpose of carrying out their role), the
>>>>>provision of pool bicycles renders the (hypothetical) car journey
>>>>>unnecessary, so there's no need to pay the mileage. It's not
>>>>>penalising the driver - it's simply not rewarding them for doing
>>>>>something outside their contract.


>>>>"Mileage" is not a reward. It's compensation for costs incurred.


>>>You seem to be advocating that companies should pay people
>>>compensation for costs incurred in doing things the company doesn't
>>>want done. Should I claim a payout from my company for buying myself
>>>a new lawn mower?


>> What a peculiar thing for you to say.


> Not really.


Only to the extent that "Not really" means "you're right".

> I simply advocated that companies not pay mileage for
> non-essential car journeys. You seem to think this would be wrong,
> suggesting you think companies should compensate people for costs not
> required by their job or in their contract.


Read the rest of what was written and see the answer to that (which
was given).

>> What I am saying is:


>> (a) companies cannot expect to peremptorily vary a contract (not even
>> a merely-implied contract) part-way through its currency;


> I'm not suggesting they do - I'm suggesting they apply the contract as
> written.


Not all contracts of employment are written and neither are all
reasonable expectations and/or implied agreements written down. You
already know that.

>> (b) in any event, unless there was an express proviso at the time of
>> hiring, no company can expect an employee to travel by a method *they*
>> (the employee) think is inherently unsafe.


> In the scenario suggested, there is no implication of less safety.


There doesn't have to be. It's up the person asked to (unwillingly)
ride a bicycle to assess the acceptability of the dangers, not to
anyone else. It isn't anyone else who is being asked to run the risk.

> Besides which, they could - if the job requires driving 15,000 miles
> per year (for example) and the employee decides driving is unsafe, you
> seem to be suggesting the employer simply change the job so it
> doesn't require driving.


Why would the employer accept that driving is unsafe if has not done
so previously? That would be the implied existing contract (and
therefore a recognised part of the job). If the employee now felt that
he could no longer do his accustomed job, that would have a quite
different set of likely outcomes. Peremptory changes (initiated either
by the employer or by the employer) need to be justified by bit more
than "Because I say so". Not that most employees or employers *would*
initiate such a change - as I suspect you well know.

The result (in many cases) of peevishly refusing to pay
reasonably-anticipated expenses for car-use would be that the
journey(s) simply could not, and therefore would not, be undertaken.
That in turn would not be good for the business and is unlikely (for
at least two separate good reasons) to be what a good employer would
insist on. That, I think, is the missing bit in this discussion -
there are some who approach the topic with an agenda which has nothing
to do with what is good for getting business done and nothing to do
with what is good for the employee.
 
J

Jon

Guest
On 2 Feb, 00:39, JNugent <[email protected]>
wrote:
I don't think many employers are
> foolhardy enough to insist that an employee hostile to the notion
> should nevertheless use a bicycle. It has to be voluntary.
>

Plenty of employers seem to expect everyone to be willing to drive a
car, and to see preferring undoubtedly safer rail travel as a bizzare
aberation.

Jon
 
J

JNugent

Guest
Jon wrote:

> JNugent <[email protected]> wrote:


>>I don't think many employers are
>>foolhardy enough to insist that an employee hostile to the notion
>>should nevertheless use a bicycle. It has to be voluntary.


> Plenty of employers seem to expect everyone to be willing to drive a
> car, and to see preferring undoubtedly safer rail travel as a bizzare
> aberation.


Which employers insist that "everyone" be willing to drive a car (as
opposed to only expecting those who have to move around efficiently in
order to do their jobs to drive a car, I mean)?