Section 17: Reimbursement of travel costs *1

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17.1 This Section deals with the reimbursement of costs incurred by employees who, with the agreement of their employer, use their own vehicles or pedal cycles, to make journeys in the performance of their duties. A summary of motoring costs which are taken into account is in Annex 12.

17.2 Principles underpinning lease vehicle policies are in Annex 13. If the employer withdraws the offer of a lease vehicle in line with the provisions of Annex 13 the employee is entitled to the appropriate rates of reimbursement in Table 7.

17.3 The reimbursement of travelling costs when employees are required to change their base of work as a result of a reorganisation or merger of NHS employers or when employees accept another post as an alternative to redundancy, will be for local partnerships to determine in line with Section 19 and Annex 15, subject to a maximum period of reimbursement of four years from the date of transfer (see paragraph 17.17 for compulsory change of base).

17.4 This section is effective from 1 July 2013. It replaces the previous Section 17 and all existing national agreements on protection. It applies to all employees on the terms and conditions of service in this Handbook who have been in receipt of the nationally agreed mileage payments. Where local partnerships of employers and trades unions have agreed alternative arrangements which may take account of local travel policies, e.g. approved mileage allowance payments (AMAP rates), it will be for the local parties to decide if they wish to maintain the local agreement or implement the new national system.

17.5 When using their vehicles in the performance of their duties employees must ensure they possess a valid driving licence, Ministry of Transport test (MOT) certificate and motor insurance which covers business travel, that he or she is fit to drive and drives safely and that they obey the relevant laws e.g. speed limits. The employee must inform the employer if there is a change in status.

17.6 When authorising the use of a vehicle, the employer must ensure that the driver has a valid driving licence and MOT certificate and has motor insurance which covers business travel.

17.7 The employer and employee will agree the most suitable means of transport for the routine journeys which employees have to make in the performance of their duties. If a particular journey is unusual, in terms of distance or purpose, the mode of travel will be agreed between the employer and employee, before it starts.

17.8 There may be circumstances where newly appointed or lower paid employees need assistance to obtain a vehicle to undertake business travel. Where the use of a vehicle is essential to the job the organisation may wish to assist by providing a lease or pool vehicle or a salary advance (see Annex 13).

Rates of reimbursement

17.9 Employees who use their vehicles to make journeys in the performance of their duties e.g. to provide care in the patient’s home, will be reimbursed their motoring costs at the appropriate rates shown in Table 7. These rates of reimbursement apply to journeys undertaken on and after 1 July 2014.

17.10 The rates of reimbursement implemented on 1 July 2014 will be those resulting from the review which will be done following the publication of the new AA guides in April/May 2014. Those rates will apply to all journeys undertaken on and after 1 July 2014.

17.11 The rates of reimbursement in Table 7 are obtained by referring to costs for the average private vehicle user included in the AA guides to motoring costs (see Annex 12).

17.12 The rate of reimbursement for motorcyclists in column 4 in Table 7 and the reserve rate in column 4 will move in line with the rate for car users in column 2 (see Annex 12).

Table 7

Amended rates of reimbursement from 1 July 2014

Column 1  Column 2 Column 3  Column 4
Type of vehicle/allowance  Annual mileage up to 3,500 miles (standard rate) Annual mileage over 3,500 miles (standard rate) All eligible miles travelled (see paragraph 17.15 and Table 8)
Car (all types of fuel) 56 pence per mile 20 pence per mile  
Motor cycle     28 pence per mile
Pedal cycle     20 pence per mile
Passenger allowance     5 pence per mile
Reserve rate      28 pence per mile
Carrying heavy or bulky equipment      3 pence per mile 

Review

17.13 After 1 July 2014 the NHS Staff Council will continue to review the standard rate of reimbursement in Column 2 in Table 7 each year, soon after the new AA guides to Motoring Costs are published, normally in April or May. Any changes to the standard rate of reimbursement, the reserve rate and the rate for motorcycle users in Table 7, resulting from this review, will apply to all miles travelled from the following 1 July, in line with the provisions in this Section (see also Annex 12).

17.14 A second review will be conducted in November each year to ensure the rate in Column 2 in Table 7 (the standard rate) continues to reimburse employees in line with motoring costs. Any changes to the standard rate of reimbursement, the reserve rate and the rate for motorcycle users in Table 7, resulting from this review, will apply to all miles travelled from the following 1 January, in line with the provisions in this Section (see also Annex 12).

Eligible mileage

17.15 Employees will be reimbursed for miles travelled in the performance of their duties which are in excess of the home to agreed work base return journey. Normally, the miles eligible for reimbursement are those travelled from the agreed work base and back. However, when the journey being reimbursed starts at a location other than the agreed work base, for example home, the mileage eligible for reimbursement will be as set out in the example in Table 8.

Table 8 - Eligible mileage
Eligible mileage - illustrative example 
In this example the distance from the employee's home to the agreed base is 15 miles 
Journey (outward)  Distance Eligible miles
Home to base  15 miles  None 
Home to first call  Less than 15 miles  Eligible mileage starts after 15 miles have been travelled 
Home to first call   More than 15 miles Eligible mileage starts from home, less 15 miles
Journey (return)     
Last call to base  Eligible mileage ends at base
Last call to home  Less than 15 miles Eligible mileage ends 15 miles from home 
Last call to home  More than 15 miles Eligible mileage ends 15 miles from home

Passenger rate

17.16 With the exception of lease, pool or hire vehicle users, where other employees or members of an NHS organisation are conveyed in the same vehicle on NHS business and their fares would otherwise be payable by the employer, the passenger allowance in Table 7 will be payable to the vehicle driver.

Reserve rate of reimbursement

17.17 A reserve rate of reimbursement, as in Table 7, will apply to employees using their own vehicles for business purposes in the following situations:

  • if an employee unreasonably declines the employers’ offer of a lease vehicle:
    • in determining reasonableness the employer and employee should seek to reach a joint agreement as to whether a lease vehicle is appropriate and the timeframe by which the new arrangements will apply. All the relevant circumstances of the employee and employer will be considered including an employees’ personal need for a particular type of car and the employers’ need to provide a cost effective option for business travel;
    • if the employee’s circumstances subsequently change the original decision will be reviewed. The agreed principles underlying local lease vehicle policies are in Annex 13;
  • when employees are required to return to work or work overtime in line with Section 3 on any day, and incur additional travel to work expenses on that day. This provision will apply if the employee chooses to be paid for the extra hours or takes time off in lieu (TOIL – see Section 3);
  • when a claim for excess mileage is made in situations where there is a compulsory change of base, either permanent or temporary, resulting in extra daily travelling expenses. The period of payment will be for local partnerships to determine, subject to a maximum period of 4 years from the date of transfer. (For those employees using public transport see paragraph 17.25);
  • if an employee uses his or her own vehicle when suitable public transport is available and appropriate in the circumstances, subject to a maximum of the public transport cost which would have been incurred (see paragraph 17.7) and the rules on eligible miles in paragraph 17.15 and Table 8.

Attendance on training courses

17.18 Additional travel costs incurred when attending courses, conferences or events at the employer’s instigation will be reimbursed at the standard rates in Table 7 when the employer agrees that travel costs should be reimbursed.

17.19 Subject to the prior agreement of the employer, travel costs incurred when staff attend training courses or conferences and events, in circumstances when the attendance is not required by the employer, will be reimbursed at the reserve rate in Table 7, in line with the rules on eligible mileage in paragraph 17.15 and Table 8.

“Out of pocket” expenses in respect of business travel

17.20 This paragraph applies to employees for whom regular travel in a motor vehicle is an essential part of their duties. During a period when the employee’s vehicle is temporarily “off the road” for repairs, “out of pocket” expenses in respect of business travel by other appropriate forms of transport, should be borne by the employer. Reimbursement of these expenses will be subject to the rule on eligible mileage in paragraph 17.15 and Table 8.

Other allowances

17.21 Employees who necessarily incur charges in the performance of their duties, in relation to parking, garage costs, tolls and ferries shall be refunded these expenses on production of receipts, whenever these are available. Charges for overnight garaging or parking, however, shall not be reimbursed unless the employee is entitled to night subsistence. This does not include reimbursement of parking charges incurred as a result of attendance at the employee’s normal place of work.

Transporting equipment

17.22 Employees who use their vehicles in the performance of their duties may be required to take equipment with them. Employers have a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related legislation, to ensure that this does not cause a risk to the health and safety of the employee. Employees should not be allowed to carry equipment which is heavy or bulky, unless a risk assessment has been carried out beforehand. When, after the necessary assessment has demonstrated it is safe to carry equipment, an allowance (see Table 7) shall be paid for all eligible miles (see paragraph 17.15 and Table 8) for which the equipment is carried, provided that either:

  • the equipment exceeds a weight which could reasonably be carried by hand; or
  • the equipment cannot be carried in the boot of the vehicle and is so bulky as to reduce the seating capacity of the vehicle.

Pedal cyclists

17.23 Employees who use pedal cycles to make journeys in the performance of their duties will be reimbursed for eligible miles travelled at the rate in Table 7 (see paragraph 17.15 and Table 8 for eligible miles).

Public transport

17.24 If an employee uses public transport for business purposes, the cost of bus fares and standard rail fares should be reimbursed.

17.25 Where there is a compulsory change of base, either permanent or temporary, resulting in extra public transport costs for the employee, these extra costs will be reimbursed, subject to a maximum period of four years from the date of transfer. (For those employees using their own vehicles for business purposes and incurring additional costs see paragraph 17.17).  

 

*1 From 1 January 2015 a local agreement for the reimbursement of travel costs, linked to HMRC “Approved Mileage Allowance Payments” (AMAP) is in place in NHS Wales. Therefore this section does not apply in NHS Wales and employers there should refer to the revised Section 17 published by the Welsh Government.

Information note number 1: amendment number 34


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