Employers get stricter with staff expenses

Almost half of employers have become stricter on personal expenses since the beginning of the economic downturn, with many willing to dismiss employees for persistent fraudulent claims, according to research by Croner, a provider of workplace information and consultancy services, part of Wolters Kluwer.

In the survey of HR directors and managers, 43% said that their company has become stricter on expenses since the onset of recession.

However, in the face of company policy, many employees do not seem to be toeing the company line and are not actually cutting back, with only a quarter of those questioned saying that staff have also become more frugal.
Similarly, only a third (32%) state that managers have become stricter.

Fortunately, almost all of those surveyed (98%) have stricter expenses policies in place than those for MPs, with almost three quarters (73%) saying their policy does not allow unreceipted claims and almost half (43%) having at some point asked an employee to pay back an expense claim that was not justified.

Many employers would even take more serious action in certain circumstances, with close to half (41%) of those questioned saying they would instigate disciplinary action for a second mistake and over a quarter (28%) saying they would dismiss an employee if they made a mistake on their expenses for a third time.

“In light of the Parliamentary expenses scandal and this week’s revelations from the BBC, it is interesting to see that many employers across the UK are putting increased scrutiny on employee expenses,” said Andrew Walker, head of reward, Croner.

“With companies across the board looking for ways to cut costs, this is one area that should be looked at carefully for potential savings. Expenses should be a reimbursement of costs enabling an employee to carry out their job, rather than an alternative source of income.”

Croner surveyed 44 HR Directors and Managers in May 2009.