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Are the workers responsible for the damage?  - Trends-Trends on PC

Are the workers responsible for the damage? – Trends-Trends on PC

Many workers are exposed to a deduction from their wages in the event of damage caused to their company vehicle, and this for minor damage often considered unavoidable for normal use of the vehicle. Is it legal?

If the damage caused to the company vehicle results from its normal wear and tear (small scratches, small knocks in the bumper, etc.), the employer cannot claim compensation from the worker. This is what the law of July 3, 1978 on employment contracts says, indicating that the “worker is not liable for damage or wear and tear due to normal use of the thing”.

If the damage caused to the company vehicle results from its normal wear and tear (small scratches, small knocks in the bumper, etc.), the employer cannot claim compensation from the worker. This is what the law of July 3, 1978 on employment contracts says, indicating that the “worker is not liable for damage or wear and tear due to normal use of the thing”. The delicate question is to define what is meant by “normal wear and tear”. To circumscribe the debate, it could be interesting to define this notion within the car policy of the company. In the same order, it would be advisable for the employer to agree beforehand with the leasing company on the notion of normal wear and tear. If it is any other damage, the question must be asked whether this damage was caused during the performance of the employment contract or when the worker was authorized to make private use of the vehicle. If it is during the execution of the employment contract, the aforementioned law exempts the worker from all liability except in the event of fraud, gross negligence or repeated slight negligence. Conversely, if damage is caused outside the performance of the contract, for example during leave, a period of illness or for private purposes, the worker must be liable for the damage. In such a case, the employer will therefore be able to claim from the worker the amount due in respect of damage, which will most often result in the deductible to be paid to the insurer. However, if the worker can be considered responsible for the damage, this does not mean that the amount can be deducted from his remuneration. Indeed, it is only in particularly limited cases that a deduction from wages may be made, and only up to certain quotas (law of 12 April 1965). In addition, the damage for damage caused to the company vehicle during private use is not one of the authorized cases of deduction from remuneration. If, on the other hand, the damage was caused during work and is the result of gross negligence or habitual slight negligence, a deduction could be made… provided that employer and worker have agreed on the amount of the damage, by means of a written agreement. In any case, it is recommended that employers have a car policy containing clear and precise directives regarding the behavior of drivers of a company vehicle, their obligations and their liability in the event of abuse. It should be noted that these directives can in no way contravene the law of July 3, 1978. As for the question of how to distinguish damage caused during work from that which occurred during private use, we advise the employer to indicate in his car policy that the worker is required to report any damage to the vehicle immediately. In this way, the temporality of the latter can be determined as best as possible. The same principles apply in the case of a vehicle used by several workers.

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