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I'm located in Australia.

When I signed my employment contract last year, there was a clause in it that stated word for word "you are entitled to a company motor vehicle to perform your duties". During my interview, I was told the same thing. When I started working, there was no further mention of the car. I only live a short distance from work, so didn't push the matter for the first few months, however lately I've been required to travel more during work hours to visit clients.

I have asked my employer if they will honour the contract and provide me with a company car to use for these client visits, so that I don't need to use my own personal vehicle (which is not insured as a business vehicle) however now the company is saying that the clause was a "clerical error" and they will not provide me with a car.

I was under the impression that contracts are binding. Is this something that I should seek legal advice for? Should I try to press the matter, and insist that they honour the contract?

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    What are you hoping to accomplish? You can press the matter, but it's not going to help relationships with anyone. – Erik Jun 20 '18 at 8:00
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    What am I hoping to accomplish? Well, I can't keep using my own car and racking up huge amounts of miles, devaluing my own vehicle, when i'm entitled to a company car. I'm trying to find out if this is something I should seek legal advice over. – Shutter Bug Jun 20 '18 at 8:19
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    Do they pay fuel expenses when they are using your car for company business? – user1666620 Jun 20 '18 at 8:21
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    If you feel the legal route is your only option, you should definitely seek legal council. If you just want to solve the problem of devaluing your vehicle and feeling like you can't trust your employer, you've probably got more productive options. – Erik Jun 20 '18 at 8:25
  • @ShutterBug would the car be yours full time, or only available during office hours? – WendyG Jun 20 '18 at 8:40
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I would hit this from a different angle (and job search) by asking for recompense if I was using my own vehicle. Everyone knows petrol costs money and cars devalue so it's not something they can beat with logic.

Failing that I would make an excuse not to use my own vehicle (my wife is using it, it's broken etc,.) and force the issue. They can then either assign me a car, or a driver and vehicle, or pay my taxis. Probably they know full well it's just an excuse, but so is 'it was a clerical error'.

Won't comment on the legal part, I'm not a lawyer and taking legal action can be career limiting without a gain.

I find it quicker and more satisfying to take direct action then to argue legalities and feed lawyers.

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Answering whether or not this clause is binding is definitely something you'll need to seek legal advice for, it's out of this site's scope.

As for your question of 'Should I press the matter and insist they honour the contract', that's a difficult question to answer as well. You'll have to get the legal advice first to verify whether or not you have a legal basis for your argument.

If it turns out you do have a legal basis for your argument, you'll have to decide: is this a hill worth dying on? Do you feel strongly enough about getting this perk that is mentioned in your contract that you'll risk souring relations with your employer?

Rather than press the issue of getting a company car, you might try starting a discussion on how you will be compensated for using your personal vehicle for company purposes. As you indicate, the increased usage will cause your vehicle to devalue quicker, you'll spend more money on fuel, you might even need to invest more time and money into keeping the car presentable compared to what you'd normally do. In many countries, there are laws or regulations that govern this kind of compensation, so it might be wise to inform yourself of such things before you start the discussion.

If you can't come to an agreement on either receiving a company car or receiving some form of compensation, I think your only realistic option is to start looking for another job. In my experience, this sort of issue will set too much bad blood: either the employee doesn't get adequate compensation and becomes unhappy, or the employer feels they're being taken advantage of and will become unhappy.

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The other advice here is true, if the employers are being difficult you are best off seeking legal advice as to whether you should/could demand a car based on what is in the contract. However, as discussed this may make your relationship with your employer difficult, to say the least.

If you aren't already, you can (and should) claim the mileage back from your employer as an expense. Here is the relevant page on the Australian Tax Office website:

You are entitled to receive 66 cents per kilometre. You should be able to backdate this to the start point of when you started travelling to Clients and using your own car. This will go some way to recover any costs - however, you'd be responsible for any fuel costs at the pump.

If the employer refuses to honour the expenses claim, you can claim directly with the ATO.

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