“The ‘new commute’ – is an employee’s home their official place of work?”

With the rise of homeworking in the wake of the coronavirus crisis is creating issues for fleets when it comes to classifying journeys.

Describing the problem as the “new commute,” revolve around whether an employee’s home is now officially their place of work.

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.

Ordinarily, driving at work includes any person who drives as part of their work, either in their own car or a company vehicle. Commuting to and from work does not count as driving at work.

The HMRC rules in this area were often inconsistently applied. Normally, they were 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 of 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.

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.

This needs the Health and Safety Executive clarification.