Alastair Kendrick: Employers seek solutions to rising fuel costs

A growing number of employers are looking at what they can do to mitigate the cost of the commute for their employees, given the ever-increasing cost of fuel.

Some of the ideas that are being explored include permitting more home working with better IT capability, which enables employees working at home to Skype/video conference into meetings, removing the need for them travel to the office.

Employers may also allow staff that do need to travel in to work to flex their working hours, so they do not need to get caught in the rush-hour traffic jams, which saves fuel costs and makes their commute less of a burden.

Employers can also promote a car-sharing arrangement for employees, which they can help to organise and support via the organisation’s intranet site. Allowing preferential parking places to employees who take advantage of this arrangement can help to promote the scheme.

Employers can also consider talking to local bus operators to encourage the creation of routes and timetables that fit with the organisation’s working patterns, enabling employees to commute on public transport. For employees who need a car when at work, having a pool car or vehicle available for short-term hire is a consideration for employers.

In the past, many employers have dealt with the idea of assisting employees using a company car with their commuting costs by allowing private fuel. But in today’s world, this is no longer considered a feasible offer given the taxable benefit it attracts, which is why many employers no longer provide this benefit.

So, employers need to be creative and to think of new ideas in relation to their travel policy. There is clearly a lot of demand by workers for a new flexible approach to working which supports the environment.

Alastair Kendrick is tax director at MHA MacIntyre Hudson