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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Travel expenses: travel for necessary attendance: fixed term appointments and agency workers: fixed term appointments: site-based workers

Section 339(5) ITEPA 2003

The term site-based worker refers to an employee, commonly working in the construction industry, who works at a succession of sites.

The phrase site-based worker is not useful in deciding whether tax relief is due under Section 338 ITEPA 2003. You need to consider each site separately to determine whether it is a temporary or a permanent workplace. However, these employees commonly present particular difficulties in applying the legislation because of the often casual and short-term nature of their employments.

Typically these employees will only work at one site at a time. If they work at one site for more than 24 months then it will be a permanent workplace, see EIM32080. But a site will also be a permanent workplace if it is reasonable to assume that the employee will work at that site for all or almost all of the period for which they are likely to hold that employment, see EIM32125.

For what it is reasonable for you to assume see EIM32100 and EIM32134.

For the factors you should take into account to determine for how long an employee is likely to hold an employment, see EIM32133.

Many of these employees will have several employments in each year. They may have more than one employment in the year with the same employer. They may also have engagements that are treated as employments by the agency legislation, see EIM32130. You need to apply the tests for permanent and temporary workplaces separately to each employment or agency engagement that the employee holds. For example, an employee may be employed to work only at site A, then laid off and employed again by the same employer to work only at site B. The employments are considered separately and both site A and site B are permanent workplaces.

From 6 April 2016, new tax provisions for the treatment of travel and subsistence expenses for workers who personally provide services through ‘employment intermediaries’ apply. The employment intermediaries travel expense provisions mean that each engagement undertaken by a worker who personally provides their services through an employment intermediary will be considered a separate employment for the purposes of travel and subsistence. This will mean that generally no relief will be given for home-to-work travel costs and associated subsistence. Detailed guidance on the employment intermediaries travel expense provisions can be found in the Employment Status Manual at ESM5500.