Clarify company policy to avoid staff expense dispute

As has been the trend in the media over the past few years, scrutiny of MP’s expenses continues to remain well and truly on the radar, both in the press and under the watchful eye of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Recently, the spotlight has fallen on Andrew Bailey, MP for the West Bromwich constituency, who attracted adverse media attention for submitting £13 worth of expenses claims for attending three local Remembrance Day services in November 2011, plus a further £3.15 for attendance at a poppy appeal launch. In the same month, Mr Bailey additionally submitted expenses claims of £2.25 for a piece of cake and a cup of tea and £3.35 for a cup of coffee, an apple, a piece of cake and two plums.

Whilst the media was quick to jump on what it reported as trivial and wasteful expenses claims, Mr Bailey was not guilty of breaking any rules, as his expenses claims are permitted under the guidelines of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Furthermore, the government is far from the only employer that sometimes struggles to clarify to its team members what exactly does and does not constitute an acceptable and legitimate expenses claim. In order to shed light on what can be a contentious issue, many businesses use expert outsourced human resources services to help them build clear and fair expenses policies, adding to their overall company policies and relevant staff contracts. This helps to remove confusion and ensure that awkward situations such as this do not occur at any point in the future, avoiding controversy and needless focus.

At NorthgateArinso, we offer professional advice and practical help to businesses of all sizes on all aspects of human resources, including employment law and health and safety. We ensure that businesses have clear and legal company policies and staff contracts in place to comprehensively cover the responsibilities of both employers and employees with regards to company expenses.

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