The Branch has written to the council highlighting our concerns that it has decided to press ahead with changes to the Travel & Subsistence procedure which would require employees to deduct their normal daily commuting mileage when submitting a claim for reimbursement of business mileage.
For the avoidance of doubt, employees do not claim mileage for their journeys from home to work and back. However up to now, workers have been able to make work calls en route and have been able to claim the lesser of the mileage between base and the work call and home and the work call. This change will have a considerable impact on workers who have no choice but to use their cars for work purposes.
This has begun in HR&OD and Business Services and is due to be rolled out to the remaining services on 1st June 2018.
Kate Ramsden, Branch Communications Officer said, “We are pleased that UNISON has won a concession for staff transporting clients, and where clients are picked up and transported during the workers normal commute the worker will not have to take off their normal commuting mileage.
“This is a welcome recognition of the role of the social worker and family support worker who are most likely to transport clients.”
The branch has also welcomed the proposals to roll out a Car Club model and had called on the council to delay the implementation of changes to mileage payments until they had done so. However the council has written back saying it is unwilling to delay the implementation.
Kate added, “UNISON has asked the council whether any work has been done identify the biggest users of their private vehicles on council business, to determine where these Car Clubs should be located. However we have had no response so far.
“We believe that this is most likely to be social work staff and home carers and these are the groups most likely to be hit by these changes.
“Social work staff also need to respond to issues on a day by day basis, and are therefore least likely to be able to plan their work in sufficient time to book a pool car. We have asked for this to be taken into account when implementing a Car Club model.”
The Branch had responded to two previous consultations on this calling for a rethink, especially for our members who have to use their cars for council business –for example those in social work. We believe that this new policy penalises those workers and is likely to result in any residual good will evaporating.
We are now planning a survey of our UNISON members who are car users for whom we have email addresses. If you would like to take part and are not sure if we have your email address, please contact the UNISON Resource Centre on 01224 620624.