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My Employer Introduced Parking Charges: A Case Study

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 1 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Employer Company Money Parking New

When Kate Mitchall, a 28-year-old customer advisor from Uxbridge, started working for a major software company, she knew that the company was in the process of building new offices. However, with the planned move around 18 months away, she didn’t really consider the impact it would have on her, especially as the journey to work would be no longer than it was currently.

But by the time Kate and her colleagues were moved to the new site, it was clear that there were other considerations they had not been made aware of. Kate explained, “The new site separated two office functions, with the customer support division on one site and the IT and development on another. What I hadn’t realised was that my new location was on a very large retail park, with paid for parking after two hours. Of course, this is fine if you’re just going shopping on the retail park, but when you’re at work for eight hours you have to pay to use the car park.”

Financial Impact

As Kate was on a relatively modest salary of £19,000, she needed to budget carefully to afford the rent on her flat, car maintenance and other essentials, so having a new cost associated with simply going to work was not particularly welcomed. Kate told us, “I have always been very careful with my money and I was really annoyed to have to find another £4 per day, simply for parking at my workplace. Although that doesn’t sound like a lot of money, it’s nearly a thousand pound a year.”

Kate decided to speak to her HR department to make sure they were aware of the situation, in case there was a parking permit available, or some other support. It was clear that a number of other employees had raised the same issue and the HR manager was quick to clarify the company position on the matter.

Kate continued, “The HR manager said that we had been privileged to have free parking previously and that we should not expect free parking all the time. She said that there was a permit we could buy, but it was still going to cost just over eight hundred pounds per year. I explained the impact on my financial position, and said that effectively I was taking a pay cut, but she was not budging.”

Understanding Rights

Kate looked into the legalities of the situation and was surprised to realise that she had no rights to expect the previous situation to continue. She did, however, feel as though the ramifications of the move to the new site had not been made clear, so she made an appointment to speak to the HR manager again.

Kate concluded, “To be honest, I felt like I had been duped into the move, because only the positive aspects of the new site had been talked about openly, with the negatives neatly hidden. It turned out that there were a number of other issues, such as no canteen facilities or adequate rest rooms for staff working shifts. It made me loose confidence in the company and, ultimately, made me start looking for a new job. I enjoyed my work but I felt so unappreciated by the change in environment.”

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