Leeds-based commercial law firm, Beachcroft LLP, is warning that forthcoming changes to legislation will affect any Yorkshire business that provides company cars to staff.
Harmajinder Hayre, an employment partner at Beachcroft in Leeds comments: "From 27th February 2007, the Road Safety Act will introduce tougher new penalties for using mobile phones when driving. In addition, by July 2007 it will be a criminal offence to smoke in a company vehicle that is used by more than one person. Both issues will have an impact on any organisation where company cars are used regularly by staff to travel.
"Employers have a legal obligation. While we recognise that staff will need to make some calls whilst on the move, employers should prevent employees from smoking in company vehicles and ensure that they are aware of the risks of using mobile phones while driving.
"Employers should consider putting together clear company policy and employee guidelines in relation to these issues. They should also make clear that employees must use hands free kits safely. Breach of company policy should be a disciplinary offence and employers should ensure, not only that company policy is being applied, but also that their employees are aware of the consequences of failure to do so.
"On the positive side, these new laws should help reduce accidents. Employers will also be encouraged to know that the government estimates that reductions in sickness absence alone will save businesses up to £28 million a year."
For further information, please contact
Deborah Garritty or Emily Goehler at Bell Pottinger North
firstname.lastname@example.org / 01625 506444
Notes to Editor:
Beachcroft LLP (formerly Beachcroft Wansbroughs) is one of the largest national commercial law firms in the UK. With over 1,400 employees, it provides legal advice and litigation services from seven locations in the UK (two in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Winchester) and also in Brussels. From routine insurance claims management to 'trusted adviser' work for major national and international organisations, the firm delivers integrated legal services to clients in six main industry groups: health and public sector; real estate and construction; financial institutions (including the insurance industry); consumer and industrial goods and services and technology and telecommunications.
The firm has received a number of industry accolades in the last year. Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession 2007, recognised 65 Beachcroft partners as leading lawyers, ranking the firm at number 16 in the UK, up from 19 last year. In Legal 500, a guide to the top 500 lawyers in the UK, the firm received a Tier 1 ranking for 17 of its practice areas across the UK. In Legal Week's client satisfaction survey, the firm came second amongst all law firms in the UK. Beachcroft is one of the largest law firms in the country to obtain the 'Investors in People' award across all of its offices.
The Leeds team currently includes 21 partners and 169 staff. Its partners have particular expertise and experience in commercial property, public sector PFI/PPP projects, health, IT, construction, litigation, financial services and employment law.
For further information, please visit: www.beachcroft.co.uk