John Mehtam, our Employment Law Specialist, said the MPs expenses scandal had uncovered a raft of issues that could not be ignored.
“We’ve all seen the continuing press coverage and the uproar over the MPs’ claims, and it’s an important lesson for companies to learn. Now is the perfect time to review your expenses policies, and ensure staff are not using your expenses system as a way to boost their salaries. Some people seem to assume they have a right to expenses on top of their wages, but in fact they are there to reimburse staff and not as an additional extra to reward them.”
John said companies should check the expenses staff were claiming were actually correct – particularly travelling expenses.
“But of course you’ll probably have much more pressing things to do than check every single expenses claim – and that’s what expenses cheats are relying on. There is no reason though why you can’t introduce spot checks. Select a couple of claims at random and look through them in detail – this should be enough to put employees off who may be considering submitting inflated claims.
“If you do find someone has made a false or embellished claim, challenge them – if they’ve clearly broken the rules, you can start disciplinary proceedings, and of course, it’s actually also a criminal offence.”
John said companies should also insist on receipts – for every expense they claim, staff should need to prove it. “Take heed of the scandal that’s hit Westminster, and don’t allow your own company to suffer at the hands of employees who are prepared to take a chance.”