Can I drive my company car if I’ve been furloughed?

With the UK on lockdown, countless companies have taken advantage of the government’s furlough scheme to help ease the financial burden they’re facing.

Furloughed staff are not allowed to do any work that is related to their job or benefits the company during this time. They are, however, allowed to undertake training to keep themselves engaged in work before they return.

If you run a company car that includes personal use but you’ve been furloughed, you might be concerned that because you’re temporarily away from the business, you’re not allowed to drive the vehicle.

However, according to Nona Bowkis at legal consultancy Lawgistics, that’s not the case: “There is no reason why an employee cannot continue to drive the car as long as the employer is happy for them to do so and the contract allows for it.

“No amounts in respect of the vehicle can be used to calculate any furlough payment as is the case with any other benefits in kind.

“Employers should check with their insurance company to ensure the car remains covered while the employee is not working for them. We haven’t heard any reports of this being an issue but it is best practice to check to avoid any losses.

“We have heard of an issue where the employer had taken a payment holiday on the car finance which led to the employee not being able to access the usual breakdown cover for reason of default. However, this was resolved but is something again to check for.”

Earlier this week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed more than 140,000 companies had applied for the furlough scheme on its first day, with applications averaging 17,500 per hour.

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