What liabilities do I have if I give staff company cars?
I’m considering relocating out of London. One consideration is that my sales people will no longer be able to use the tube to get to meetings. What am I liable for if they use their own cars to get to meetings and what cover should I have? Would these costs be reduced if I hired a fleet of cars and insured them all under the business?
A. Barry Johnson of Ace writes:
As an employer, you must ensure that your employees have a safe environment in which to work and that all the tools and equipment you supply are fit for the purpose and that your employees are adequately trained to do the job.
The ‘equipment’ in this instance relates to your employee’s cars. Since it is their own cars, they are responsible for them. In addition they are responsible for insurance and for their own driver training. Consequently the scope for liability on your part, as employer, is limited.
However if you require your employees to use their own cars for business purposes you probably have a duty to ensure that:
? Your employees have licences which allows them to drive their particular vehicle
? Their vehicles have MOT certificates and are in a roadworthy condition
? There is a motor insurance policy in force which covers your employees to drive their vehicles and includes ‘use in connection with his business’
? You do not put pressure on employees which might make them feel obliged to drive faster than normal and take chances
Having attended to the above then, if any of your employees makes a driving error and crashes while on business it is difficult to see how they might successfully argue that you had failed in your duty of care.
The alternative of providing a company car might actually increase the employer’s liability and certainly the expense!