There is no requirement in the law in the sense of a specific statue that says you must provide transport for employees.
However, if you know that where you are placed is potentially unsafe for staff late at night and they may be subjected to unpleasant and unsafe interference you would have to consider whether, under the employer’s duty of care towards the employees, you should take some action in this regard.
If a company decides to pay for a taxi for an employee because they have been working late, there may be an exemption from the benefit in kind charge that would otherwise arise where an employer provides a late night taxi for an employee to travel home from work.
This exemption can apply only where all four late night working conditions are satisfied:
- The employee is required to work later than usual and until at least 9pm
- This occurs irregularly
- By the time the employee ceases work, either public transport has ceased, or it would not be reasonable to expect the employee to use public transport
- The transport is by taxi or similar road transport
If the above is satisfied, it is limited to 60 such journeys in a year.
Talk to your staff
It would seem to me that the obvious thing to do is to talk to the people who will be in this situation and see what steps can be taken to ensure that they travel home safely. It may well be that you can arrange for one person who has transport to give lifts to others; it may be that you can rearrange the hours that people work, such that they don’t travel home during unsafe periods.
Perhaps if there are exceptional circumstances, where someone has worked particularly late, for some special reason then you might consider either providing transport yourself or paying for a taxi.
It is an issue where it would be prudent to carry out a risk assessment as well as considering the practicalities of the problem.
Keeping a paper trail is important. If you pay for a taxi home for an employee as they have worked late, make sure that you have evidence that the above checks were carried out so that you can show that you have treated the provision correctly for the purposes of tax and NICs.
Many thanks to Bethan Southcombe of Howells Solicitors for her help with this piece.