Thursday, 20 January 2011

Who pays the price?

Shropshire company car drivers could have parking fines deducted directly from their wages, our Employment Law specialist has warned.

John Mehtam said employees who picked up a fine while on work-related business may believe the company should foot the bill.

"But if your staff contracts have been prepared to include a specific clause, you can take the money out of their next salary payment. You do have to ensure though that the clause is clear and states that you will deduct any parking fines from their wages - if the contract doesn't say that, you can't take any money at all from the employee."

John said the contract must specifically state each kind of incident where the company reserved the right to make a deduction.

"As well as parking or speeding fines, which may occur in and out of working time, you might want to make reference to any overpayment of wages, and damage caused to company property by a staff member or someone from their family. And to deter employees from risking parking and other fines at all, you can impose an administrative charge through their contracts.

"You need to add a clause that says you reserve the right to apply an administrative charge to cover the costs of dealing with any fine, charge or penalty - and if you set it at a reasonable figure, it's more likely to be accepted by a tribunal as a fair term."

John said if your staff contracts did not include permission to deduct fines from salary payments, a company could still agree with the employee that they were personally liable - but written permission would be needed before any money is taken.

"And if the employee refuses to cover the costs, make it clear to them that any further parking tickets will lead to tough disciplinary action."