back to article Vodafone won't pay employee expenses for cups of coffee

Tight-fisted Vodafone rejects expenses claims for food and snacks for hard-worked people pulling 12-hour days, hacked-off sources have told The Register. We have seen copies of Voda's expenses policy, which states that lunches are virtually never expensable, breakfasts can only be claimed on an overnight stay and dinners can …

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  2. djstardust Silver badge

    Profits Profits Profits

    Reminds me of a company I used to work for in Aberdeen.

    Pretty similar if you dug in to the policy. They did ask me to travel but I refused as it would have cost me a fair bit of my own money to bring in work for them.

    Seems some companies have lost the human touch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Profits Profits Profits

      Now I did work for a firm where they were very good at looking after the employees. Your manager, his manager (or anyone higher up on the same branch of the organogram) could sign off expenses against budget and could decide within reason what was a valid claim. However then we merged with another firm who essentially took over everything. The new policy was that we used a computerised system that few people liked. There were tight limits on what was acceptable and some things previously okay weren't now. Also your manager was the only person who could sign off expenses no one else - Computer says No!

      At a meeting with the new CEO and a bunch of staff the question of expenses comes up. No one seemed to mind that some of the previous allowable expenses have been killed off. They were quite generous after all but that wasn't what really got to people. The the fact that if your manager was sick or away for a holiday you could miss the cut off for that month. This was the frankly rather early date of the 12th of each month. That meant potentially waiting a month and a half for reimbursement in the next paycheck. It was then queried whether the policy was universal or whether there were exemptions for some staff - Directors for example. The reply was that everyone used the same system which didn't answer the question. Then it was mentioned by someone in the know that Directors only needed to have another director sign off their expenses. Why wasn't this be a situation where it was abused i.e. you do me I'll do..... you scratch my back I'll scratch yours. They promised that this was going to go under review and it would end up as two directors. Not sure it ever did but I left before it did.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Profits Profits Profits

        "That meant potentially waiting a month and a half for reimbursement in the next paycheck. "

        Which in some cases can mean an account going into overdraft and attracting bank fees.

        Something which the company refused to cover - until a court told them they had to.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Profits Profits Profits

      "They did ask me to travel but I refused as it would have cost me a fair bit of my own money to bring in work for them."

      We (techs) had a similar problem with one employer. Everyone refused to work away due to the net income being negative and those stupid enough to volunteer realised it pretty quickly that we weren't doing it to be assholes.

      It's amazing how quickly a desperate corporation can change its payment policies when the engineering staff dig their toes in. On the other hand salesdroids are a dime a dozen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Profits Profits Profits

        "If it was a company of few people you'd expect this"

        Well, you shouldn't. At my company all reasonable expenses are reimbursed bar alcohol (thanks to someone taking the piss at one point), with the exception that directors cannot claim food expenses due to some obscure tax reason the accountant has come up with.

        It is not because of the indubitable goodness of our hearts but because we've seen this before.

        1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

          Re: Profits Profits Profits

          Classic. Will forward it to... certain people.

      2. Alternatevoice

        Re: Profits Profits Profits

        And with that last line, you lost all credibility ... What is it with engineers that they always must spit on sales? Don't think it is a valid job? Don't think we go to hell each month trying to make quotas? I agree that rotten apples exist, but they exist in ANY profession. A bit easy, quite frankly to piss on those who make sure your products go to market, all the while having only the reassurance of a base salary every month and being judged every month on last month's numbers. Want to live like that?

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Profits Profits Profits

          I upvoted you, but there's a bit of an asumption there yourself that your comment applies to all engineers.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, HP...

      ...stopped paying for anything other than your hotel bill and a (cheap) dinner, when you were on the road on company business, years ago. Anything else was not claimable - the tight bastards.

  3. Martijn Otto
    Joke

    Proud to be Vodafone

    where we not only screw the customer, but ourselves as well.

    Would you like some lube for your shafting? You'll have to buy it yourselves.

  4. LewisRage

    I've always found this a bit funny.

    When I'm in the office I'll pop out at lunch time and buy myself a sandwich. When I'm on site at a clients for a few hours I pop out at lunch and buy a sandwich, but this now becomes the companies responsibility?

    Of course if I'm gone for an extended period and/or I'm forced by circumstance to eat expensively whilst away from my usual facilities that makes perfect sense, but coming back from a 4 hour client visit with a burger king and a receipt just doesn't quite add up to me.

    Clearly there are times when the company absolutely should be paying and I don't completely agree with the point I'm making above but I've never quite managed to get my head round it.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      When you're at the office/wfh you can make your own. Buying lunch is your own choice. In a lot of the circumstances described in the article, buying lunch is the only option.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Make your own lunch?

        Oh come on. Hardly anyone does this - those that do make a packed lunch and that can be done when you go offsite too.

        Travel/expense policies like this are not to deny the hard working employee a cup of coffee but to stop people taking the piss with restaurant meals when it's not necessary.

        The end result unfortunately is to deny people that coffee but better that than to burden the company with a huge expenses bill

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: taking the piss with restaurant meals when it's not necessary.

          "stop people taking the piss with restaurant meals when it's not necessary."

          Based on nearly three decades as a UK techy working closely with sales folks and customers, and having eaten breakfast and lunch in many a Morrisons cafe with the better salesfolk, you're the one taking the piss.

          If a company has an issue with a small minority of individual employees taking the mickey with expense claims, it's something for those people's management chain to sort out at the time the expenses are approved (or rejected).

          There's no excuse whatsoever to use the mickeytakers as a 'reason' to introduce a counter-productive expenses policy for the rest of the workforce.

          Next.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: taking the piss with restaurant meals when it's not necessary.

            Bean counter logic. FFS!!!

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Make your own lunch?

          If I was to fly abroad then I'd have to demand being reimbursed for the kitchen to make my lunch in - they dont let you take sharp things on planes. I frequently make my own lunches when working in the office - if they have a little space and eqpt to do so but to make something while away at someone else's office is going to cost the company more for me to make than for them to pay for a decent meal in a restaurant.

          This is just typical wanker accounting that costs £10 for every £1 saved.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The argument goes thus,

      Depending on where the client is you may have been travelling for hours in grid locked roads or rubbish public transport so it's right that your company covers your lunch because not only that but you have to get back as well.

      It's also not your normal working day and you are putting yourself out for the company so in return they should at the very least cover your lunch.

      Again this is all dependent on circumstances but it's good practise not to piss off your employee's by being tighter than a fishes arse.

      1. Gavin Park Weir

        I agree with some of it but the point about "company should re-reimburse lunch because you are travelling" is dangerous. If your job requires travel and you sign up to it knowing you will be inconvenienced then why should your company pay for lunch?

        You can pack a sandwich in tupper wear and take it with you?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          "If your job requires travel and you sign up to it knowing you will be inconvenienced then why should your company pay for lunch?"

          Well, in my case it would be because I made sure that was in the contract.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I agree with the original poster. Nothing short of penny-pinching. When claims were due, my colleagues would be busy furrowing for receipts for packets of crisps, the odd sandwich etc. wasting far more company time in the process.

        If you really feel the need to go through the hassle of claiming silly things back, maybe you should concentrate instead on getting a better job.

        As for free vending machines, you do realise you need to declare that to the tax people? Seeing as you lot are so good at filling in claim forms, I'm sure you'll sail through the task!

    3. Steve K Silver badge

      Quid pro quo

      I think the issue here is that if you are being flexible by travelling long distances on your own time (or avoiding a hotel stay expense for doing so) then a coffee or sandwich etc. is a fair quid pro quo for the inconvenience.

      The result of this is likely to be people heading home early, or not being able to make those 08:00 meetings any more since - people will not feel the urge to be flexible.

      It seems a short-sighted approach, which cannot add up to that much over a year even for an operation Vodafone.

      1. SVV Silver badge

        Re: Quid pro quo

        I hardly consider a coffee and sandwich a fair quid pro quo for giving up hours of my free time in order for my employer to make a lot of money. As a consultant who used to travel a lot, localish travel used to occur during work hours, and where things overran a bit, that was balanced out by the times I finished a bit early, and I wouldn't have made it back to the office before finishing time so I went straight home.

        For longer distance travel (generally international), every damn second of travel time and time in the office was claimed as work time, and every meal was also expensed. Because frankly I'm not paying a penny of my own money to enable me to do my work, and hanging around airports and sitting on planes and in taxis and trains is not how I'd choose to spend my free time on a workday.

        You are constrained for food options when travelling - even buying a ready made sandwich is more expensive than making your own.-People who work uncompensated overtime (getting neither money nor time in lieu) are stupid in my opinion. People who are actually prepared to spend their own money in order to do their work are even more idiotic.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Quid pro quo

          "if you are being flexible by travelling long distances on your own time"

          This is why I charge for the travel time as well (assuming it's not a usual location I'm going to). Once a client queried it (as in - why are you doing this?) and I simply said they were paying for my time. If they wanted me to drive for 6-8 hours for a 1/2 hour meeting that was their choice, but they were paying for it.

          Amazing how requests for on-site meetings dropped after that :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quid pro quo

        > It seems a short-sighted approach, which cannot add up to that much over a year even for an operation Vodafone.

        Not knowing Vodafone other than as an ex-customer, but my guess is that it is filled to the brim with mid-level management type busybodies with very narrow responsibilities and an equally narrow view of the situation.

        If they stop paying for lunches, they can say "I saved X many tens of thousands of Pounds last year", possibly oblivious to the fact that a) it does not amount to much in the big scale of things, as you point out and b) it just causes the brilliant people to leave, thus leaving other substandard people like the hypothetical said manager and causing a positive feedback loop which increases the corporate level of mediocrity.

        At their customer's expense, of course.

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      It's generally accounting rules that decide what's offered and what isn't. Paying employees meals on premises is considered to be a taxable benefit (like pay), whereas expenses incurred during travel are just that: expenses and can be offset against tax.

      There are good arguments for scrapping a lot of deductibles including meals, though I'd start with company cars, but there would a huge outcry from the industry if anyone really tried this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Company Cars are a financial millstone

        and cost companies a fortune due to tax implications and management implications, and also cost the employee a fortune if they choose a stupidly expensive car with lots of emissions and a high BIK. So your top brass wafting around in a Range Rover Sport will more than likely have a chunky tax bill for the privilege.

        Most corporates now are making their company car policies so restrictive or silly (like 1 car per band - no other choice), people opt for the cash alternative which is much cheaper, and obviously is just a salary uplift which is subject to normal Tax/NI rules. But that 'car allowance' means that they can still either set rules around car age etc and also argue that you should be using your car to travel where possible instead of using a train.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Company Cars are a financial millstone

          Company Cars are a financial millstone

          Not if the accounting is done correctly: make sure the car belongs to the company and not the employee. The employee feels like they're getting a nice perk and the company gets to pay a smaller salary and can offset the most of the costs against tax. And that's before there are the special deals from the manufacturers like lease and buy back. Government's like this because the making and maintaining of cars is one of the best job guarantees out there.

          1. Nifty

            Re: Company Cars are a financial millstone

            I thought company owned cars can't be used for your normal commute/leisure purposes?

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Company Cars are a financial millstone

              Depends on your stance on taxation...

              You can use a company owned car for 'personal usage', just that this has to be declared as a 'benefit'.

              It is (or was) common for vans etc. to be kept in a pool and thus have their usage restricted to company business only and have a no personal usage restriction simply to keep accounting and tax reporting simple(r).

              Cars on the other hand tend to be allocated to individuals as a benefit (and thus a cost to the company) and with company usage (reported via expenses) simply being treated as an expense.

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Holmes

        "...expenses and can be offset against tax."

        Aha! Voda don't need to offset tax- the Govt would end up paying them!

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      You might buy a sandwich if you're not travelling, other people might ordinarily bring their own lunch.

      If Vodafone employees brought their own Tupperware to client meetings, that wouldn't reflect well on the employee. If they all did it and and explained their company policy, that might reflect well on Vodafone.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        By which I mean that might not reflect well...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If Vodafone employees brought their own Tupperware to client meetings, that wouldn't reflect well on the employee. If they all did it and and explained their company policy, that might reflect well on Vodafone.

        Well, at our offices, we have a fridge and microwave, do you get fridges and microwaves in trains in the UK, thought not ? Should you invest in a refrigerated cool box-thingy for your car ? Ok, maybe, but a microwave in a car ? Come on ... a sandwich is Ok, every now and then, but when you are often away, that starts sucking ... besides, you travel, often OUTSIDE OF WORK HOURS, THE LEAST the company could do to compensate IS A MEAL ...

        Makes me think of the laws in Germany ... less than 30 euro/day for THREE meals ...

        I am lucky, I work for the dream company ... I get food and all the beer I want (well, I can drink) refunded, provided I drink it in the presence of a colleague/client and NOT AT LUNCH. I get breakfast and lunch refunded as well, though ... They ALWAYS book breakfast at the various hotels, some nutritionist told them a good breakfast is important for productivity and guess what ? It is ...

    6. Jason 24

      "When I'm in the office I'll pop out at lunch time and buy myself a sandwich. When I'm on site at a clients for a few hours I pop out at lunch and buy a sandwich, but this now becomes the companies responsibility?"

      I kind of feel the same way to a degree, I always bring a sandwich to work, so why should me going onsite for an install be any different?

      1) If we're doing an install with an onsite IT team then going out together and eating together can improve the team/become friendlier and usually we end up stopping at a point things needs discussing, helps if we're all eating together. Better than slinking off to sit in the car by myself.

      2) If I'm getting back home after 7pm then I don't see an issue stopping for something on the motorway home, you're already eating into my evening family time for the companies benefit, let me have a quick bite without half an hour of cooking.

      As for breakfast, my place will cover it if you set off before 6am from home which I think is pretty reasonable. If it's a hotel stop over then we generally get the premier inn breakfast included as part of the booking.

      1. silks

        I do sympathise with this view, but often a client visit means travelling/working/travelling unsociable hours for no additional pay. Maybe that's part of the job description but a coffee and a bun at a motorway service area isn't a big price for a corporate to pay.

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        "If it's a hotel stop over then we generally get the premier inn breakfast included as part of the booking."

        Lucky bugger. I get the Travelodge breakfast, which is a bottle of juice and an inedible muffin.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We've never been able to claim lunch for site visits.

      We can claim breakfast if having to leave before 7am and evening meals after 7pm. Then they started to get funny about it insisting on later and earlier times.

      So all people did was leave a bit earlier and spend an hour having breakfast and reading the news papers. Then pick up a load of food (think take away meal, then snacks, drinks cakes etc) for pretty much the correct amount on the way home and do it that way. And of course claim that as overtimes.

      I found our local Chinese very helpful in making receipts in Hanzi and a many will have the same rule "Soft drinks only". It's amazing how many hotels have the generic "beverages" as a till option.

      In short, whatever you save one way, you will lose more in another.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Per Diem

      "Of course if I'm gone for an extended period and/or I'm forced by circumstance to eat expensively whilst away from my usual facilities that makes perfect sense, but coming back from a 4 hour client visit with a burger king and a receipt just doesn't quite add up to me."

      Where I come from (Finland) the taxman has set per diem rates. This year, >6 hours of work >15km away gets you a halved per diem, 19 euros. >10 hours nets you the full per diem allowance, 41 euros. The rates are usually higher when abroad. (the amounts change annually a bit). If the employee is granted a free meal the per diem is halved.

      Per diem isn't taxable income. The employer does not have to grant per diems and do the tax deducts, then the employee can deduct them in the taxes.

      Whether the Finnish amounts are exorbitant I cannot say. If your only choice to lunch or dine is at airports or hotel then the per diem may still not be enough. Stopping at a roadside cafe for coffee and sandwich - then you'll pocket some extra.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Per Diem

        "Where I come from (Finland) the taxman has set per diem rates."

        Yes, Finnish system is quite reasonable. Per diem allowances are designed to cover meals and other small expenses without a requirement to document them. Larger expenses like hotels and transport are separate matters.

        Tax code specifies maximum per diem rates that'll be tax free. Companies can pay more, but this will obviously incur an extra tax. Paying less is discouraged by employment laws. That's why most companies are using per diem rates from the tax code without trying to be clever about it.

        For example, a full day in London has a per diem of 69 EUR. If the hotel accommodation includes two or more meals per day, then per diem has to be cut in half.

        Official page in English

        https://www.vero.fi/en/detailed-guidance/decisions/47405/taxexempt_allowances_in_2017_for_busine/

        1. Kernel

          Re: Per Diem

          "That's why most companies are using per diem rates from the tax code without trying to be clever about it."

          Ah, this will explain why my Finnish employer has specified our per diem rates here in NZ in Euros rather than $NZ.

    9. OohAahVicar

      The difference is that when you're in the office, you can bring your own lunch from home; on site meeting customers that's not an option. I wouldn't pay out a claim when someones on a short visit though.

    10. ThaumaTechnician

      Just make an egg-salad sandwich and leave it in your glove compartment or in the car's trunk on a hot July day. Then drive to the office and offer to trade that sandwich the cube-farm drone's home-made sandwich that has been in a company-supplied refrigerator all morning.

    11. JimC Silver badge

      A bit funny

      There are some funny anomalies about this stuff. I wonder how much dates back to the days when there was a formal 1 hour break for lunch, and most people lived within walking/bicycle distance and could return home for lunch.

      I guess if you join a company and are told "This company pays no allowances for meals to anyone - we consider that the salary is adequate to include this" that would be fair enough. If, on the other hand, something like that is imposed, without an increase in salary to match the loss of allowance and, as is so often the case, with directors and senior executives being exceptions, that's quite another matter.

    12. macjules Silver badge

      Thanks to Gordon Brown and his bribery laws, those who work in the banking/financial IT know how exacting and far-reaching the bribery act goes. As an example, if you are visiting a client for IT purposes from the bank, insurance company etc., let's say you are setting up a portal for their corporate governance department, you may not park in their car park as that can be seen as an inducement by them, You may accept a tea or coffee but not more than a pre agreed number. Lunches, drinks and of course the brown paper envelope with £10k in readies (kidding) all have to be declared.

  5. Chris Hills

    Just because you get free coffee in the office, it doesn't mean you should be able to reclaim £3 for a coffee at a shop for what would probably cost your company 10p to provide. They don't even have to provide it at all. If they are not careful, the company could turn around and scrap these perks altogether.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      True, but if the employer require you to not be in the office for a period (site visit, leaving home at 5 etc) when you would normally eat, drink etc then they should normally pay for your additional expenses, even if it's just a flat £10 a day or whatever.

      Oh yes, and I believe you may be able to claim against tax anyway (or maybe that's just for travel expenses - basically it's for expenses you personally incur solely due to doing your job, or words to that effect. Remember barrister who claim for black clothes that should would only ever wear in court))

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If they are not careful, the company could turn around and scrap these perks altogether."

      And in return, the employees will carefully read the terms & conditions in their contract and "work" accordingly. So, for example, no more getting up at 4am for a 6.30 flight to be in a client's office at 10am.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Just because you get free coffee

      Here is some news for you - you do. The HMRC accounting rules say so. You are entitled to be reimbursed for all reasonable expenses essential when traveling on business including food and lodging. Especially food and lodging.

      The solution for Voda employees is very simple - keep all receipts, register for self-assessment and put all receipts towards the "legally entitled to, but not reimbursed by the company travel expenses" allowance. You can and SHOULD do this with ALL receipts where the company has been idiotic, unreasonable and has invented policies which violate both accounting rules and basic sanity.

      In theory, this goes towards one of your allowances which is specific for this. In practice, HMRC gets very unhappy when it notices that everyone in a company ends up claiming it which usually results with the geniuses who formulate the policy having to back off on it in the next financial year.

      1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        @VRH, re: receipts.

        I got into the habit of keeping a small pocket log book of the miles I traveled for work, keeping the receipts for everything (and I mean *Everything*) work related, & making sure to claim such expenses on my taxes.

        It didn't matter if the business refunded me for such expenses, the Tax Man rarely did *not*.

        Tax Man: "This is a log of what? The mileage incurred for work? Ok, thank you... hummmm... Approved. And these are the receipts for food, lodging, business clothes, and all the expenses incurred in working? Hmmmm... Ok, this one- oh wait, that's acceptable... Ok, Allowed. Thank you, let me just add up your refund..."

        I'd get a nice fat cheque at the end of the year to make up for all the bullshit I'd gone through for my employer, & the revenue service would then stick it to my employer for "all these expenses you're costing your employees".

        I'll second your suggestion to keep receipts, but I'll expand it to include a mileage & fuel log for the car, keep the receipts for business clothes (especially safety shoes/gloves/goggles), & any/all plane/train trips you have to take. Unless the employer pays for it up front (buys the plane/train tickets) then *all* of it can come off your taxes, and *THAT* will make you quite a happy camper when the refund cheque gets deposited into your bank.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        re: HMRC Accounting Rules

        >You can and SHOULD do this with ALL receipts where the company has been idiotic

        And maintain a set of unsubmitted expense claims (records for tax return) (*).

        You should be doing this regardless and familarize yourself with HMRC's expense rules. For practically all all companies I've worked for the expense policy isn't as generous as HMRC's! :)

        For example mileage, many companies don't pay HMRC per mile reimbursement rates and/or put rules around when you can or can not claim. For example one company insisted that normal daily home to office travel costs (not allowed by HMRC) should be deducted from any travel claim, even when working abroad, whereas HMRC will allow you to expense Home-to-client via normal office to pickup that printout you forgot to pickup the previous evening (the one you printed out at midnight using the RDS service). I quickly learnt to claim an expense and accept the deduction because that put a company signature onto my expense - if HMRC ever queried my extra's I could directly link an extra to a company approved expense...

        Naturally, you'll soon discover there are things you can expense that perhaps you don't want your employer to know about... I often expensed (cheaper) training courses because I didn't want to use up the limited number of training days my employer granted - using these for those really expensive and essential courses...

        At the end of the year I then assessed these incidentals and decided whether to claim or not - most years I claimed as the tax rebate was around £2,000.

    4. hmv

      You get free coffee in the office?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I work from home, but if I ever went to a UK company office then I wouldn't even get free hot water - it's 12p per cup - to make my own tea, with my own tea bag.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "I work from home, but if I ever went to a UK company office then I wouldn't even get free hot water - it's 12p per cup - to make my own tea, with my own tea bag."

          Over the last 20 years I've been to thousands of UK companies from multinationals to one man bands and can't remember even one which didn't at least have a kettle you could freely use.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Free Coffee??? What's that?

      The free hot drinks machines were scrapped in VFUK a few years ago to save £20k per annum.

      They've gradually removed every benefit they offered to employees. The last casualty was paying for professional membership fees which were scrapped in December.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Free Coffee??? What's that?

        The last casualty was paying for professional membership fees which were scrapped in December.

        Once again - this is tax deductible during self-assessment by the employee. Same as ANY travel expense allowed by HMRC (that is all reasonable food off-site) up to whatever that allowance is in this financial year.

        Same as with travel, food and lodging expenses if a significant amount of employees on the same PAYEE account start claiming it, the reports and analytics flag it, one or two get investigated and if the expenses are genuine HMRC has a conversation with the employer as they are not very happy paying for stuff which the employer should have paid.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Our source said that on a particular assignment they left home at dawn and got home well after 8pm, with several hours of travel to and from the site.

    I'd be far more worried about being unsafe to drive a car after such a long time than I would about whether I was getting my meals paid for!

    But, yeah, the employer should be covering these expenses: they're generally deductibles anyway.

  7. IHateWearingATie
    WTF?

    Never worked at a company that would cover my normal lunch, no matter what I was doing or where I was. Restaurants with clients etc, but otherwise no.

    Similarly for breakfast, unless I was in a hotel. Neither of these seem unfair.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Directors?

    Somehow I can't help feeling that there is a different policy for the directors of the company when they are out on the road...

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Directors?

      Ah, yes!

      Dunno about when 'on the road' but...

      When I worked for Pearl Assurance, lo, these many moons ago, they provided a free lunch for all employees. Jolly nice. Apparently dated back to when they had to employ a lot of female clerical staff, and didn't want them to have to go out to low dives at lunchtime. By the late 20th century, it was still a perk, and the meals weren't bad. But there were four different dining rooms at the Holborn office. The main one was for the peasants - standard canteen stuff. Then there was the 'Managers' Dining Room, for the junior/middle managers - same food as the plebs, but waitress service. Then the 'Chiefs' dining room - for senior managers - better food. And finally the Directors' Dining Room, overseen by the Company butler (not kidding!), and catered for, I believe, by the Directors' chef.

      It's the same the 'ole world over...

      1. POKE 649,0

        Re: Directors?

        The CEO of our company has breakfast in the Savoy. I meanwhile am lucky to get a Saveloy.

    2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Directors?

      Certainly is for Big Blue.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Directors?

      Bit of a stupid question really: directors have completely different contracts to employees including things like term limits. They might have all kinds of exotic riders but a generous expenses allowance will be minimum.

  9. trevorde

    They probably got the idea from IBM

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FFS. Vodafone, it's a stupid policy.

    I think Vodafone are leaving themselves open to a Health and Safety prosecution, if you make someone drive for more than 2.5hrs hours / 150 mls (maybe less) without a paid coffee/sandwich break, if anything happens while that employee is driving for the company.

    The Employee could be implicated, but most of the blame would fall on Vodafone, in terms of lack of duty shown to safety/employee working practices.

    1. PermissionToSpeakPlease

      Re: FFS. Vodafone, it's a stupid policy.

      where did they say that the employee isn't allowed to have a break?

      1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge

        Re: FFS. Vodafone, it's a stupid policy.

        If I am not mistaken the working hours regulations requires companies to ensure that workers spend no more than 14 hours per day engaged in travel and work time. So if it takes you 2 hours to get to the work site from your abode then your shift can't be longer than 10 hours. This is certainly how it works in providing labour, etc to the rail infrastructure industry.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: providing labour, etc to the rail infrastructure industry.

          Last time I looked, that was one of the few sectors that still cared about things like safety of employees, users, and bystanders, etc, and therefore still cared about the associated certifications, processes, and paperwork.

          Other sectors? Well, as various famous people have said at various times, "rules are for the little people".

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS. Vodafone, it's a stupid policy.

        "where did they say that the employee isn't allowed to have a break?"

        I specifically said a break with food (sandwich etc) and a drink.

        It's ignorant comments like yours, it's the whole fcuking reason we have disasters like Grenfell tower. Penny pinching by selfish indivduals, that have massive consequences for the poor bastards, impacted by those decisions. Nightmare Southern Rail is a case in point, does it always have to take a major disaster for a company to see sense in terms of Safety?

        There is a company responsibility in terms of Safety to make sure their employees are also eating and drinking during that break. If you don't provide a means of paying for that, you (as a company) are leaving yourself wide open to prosecution, i.e. implicated. If you provide payment, and they save the money/don't use it, then you are in the clear (somewhat).

        I'm sure there are many zero hour / contract employees who try to get through the day on nothing, because they are already paid minimum wage.

        As said, if an accident occurs these will be the factors that will be examined. A company's duty of care for employees, means most of the blame will fall on the Employer.

  11. Chris G Silver badge

    Only fair

    If you put yourself out for the company it is only fair that they should make an effort to return the favour.

    The cost of a modest meal/coffee/snack is hardly going to be equal to the benefit to the company from your long day traveling. If there is not enough benefit to the company to cover costs like this, there is obviously something wrong with the way they are running the business.

    Vodafone has always been a crap company and it doesn't look as though they are ready to change just yet.

  12. rmason Silver badge

    I think the way it's written makes it sound worse than it is.

    As has been said i'd expect all my travel costs and dinner but i've never know companies to pay for lunch as standard.

    The ten hour thing is a bit harsh, but again (having a similar policy at an old place) I doubt you have to wait the ten hours to eat. You'd eat a meal at the normal time (driving etc allowing) knowing it *would be paid for* if you hit the X hours that day window.

    It was 9 hours for us, but you didn't have to wait until whatever ridiculous time you hit the nine hour window, you just ate a normal meal (ie whatever you'd normally buy yourself if you were feeding yourself, like every other day) at whatever time suited you and that days work.

    Normally meant stopping at whatever craphole town you were nearest to on the motorway, eating something sensible/normal that you're happy to cover yourself if you get home one time, but will be paid for if you don't.

    I've worked for companies both large and small, and i've never known one who would be happy for you to stick random drinks, snack, coffees on expenses. Always breakfast and dinner if you're overnight, always all your travel expenses and always anything you need to buy to do the job when there.

    Never your random 10am coffee/redbull/can of coke though.

    You either know what you can and can't expense, or have a budget per day and can submit receipts for anything you like that is obviously either food or work related.

    Where do you all work that not being able to expense drinks during the day is so shocking?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We're all elected MPs, don't you know?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "I've worked for companies both large and small, and i've never known one who would be happy for you to stick random drinks, snack, coffees on expenses. Always breakfast and dinner if you're overnight, always all your travel expenses and always anything you need to buy to do the job when there.

      Never your random 10am coffee/redbull/can of coke though."

      Same here, although they'll cover 5 or 6 quid for lunch on days between hotel stays, ie staying over more than one night.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be honest this sounds like a pretty standard policy. Lunch is almost never expensable for almost all companies, because the reality is most of us pop out and buy lunch anyway. Dinner and breakfast only coming into play on overnights or very long days is also very much par for the course.

    1. rmason Silver badge

      It reads pretty standard to me too.

      You're perfectly free in the majority of business trips, meeting or whatever to do *exactly* as you do when you're sat in the office.

      When the trendy suits all ask if you're coming to gordon ramseys place for lunch you say "no thanks" and either get told "come with us, we're expense-ing it anyway" or just left to do your own thing.

      If you take sandwiches to work on a normal day, take sandwiches. If you buy yourself lunch every day, go buy lunch.

      The coffee thing I definitely don't understand. not even a little bit. That's absolutely standard practice most places. Places where you're given a company credit card and told not to take the piss aside.

  14. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Surprised

    Didn't expect how many think going out to shop and buying lunch is normal routine. Not sure how much you would spend but let's say 4 quid is conservative. That's at least 80 a month out of taxed wages. How do you afford that on a regular basis.

    A lot of companies have a subsidised canteen. If you're out travelling somewhere you are missing out on the subsidy; that was what our accounts department once told me was the reason for being able to claim lunches.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surprised

      "How do you afford that on a regular basis."

      ...we work in technology?

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Surprised

      That's at least 80 a month out of taxed wages.

      Plus weeatetee, Joe, plus weeatetee!

      I can afford it but it still pisses me off to see people apparently occupied during the day to dismantle the company from within like dumb fcucks because God himself code-injected some exclusively CEO-targetd Genius Idea into their brain through the bottommost sphincter access port pulling in 5-figure salaries.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The calm (sic) before the storm

    of P.45's about to be released in the general direction of the Newbury.

    Well, if experiences of other IT companies is anything to go by... One wanted me to drive from Liverpool to sarf of Londinum and then back up north again the following morning for an 09:00 meeting in Liverpool. Done so as to avoid an overnight stay at some flea pit B&B in Blackpool. Any hotels over £50/night inc brekkie needed a VP signoff. This was in 2006.

    I'll bet the directors Hob-nobs are still expensed though.

    Better get your CV's in shape folks.

  16. Marcus Fil

    Hint

    Vodaphone does not value your skills and expertise - go work for one of its competitors. Introduction of policies such as this one are generally a sign the company is "cutting costs to expand margin" i.e. screwing over suppliers and employees to try to look good to its shareholders; probably it has tried everything else to remain competitive and is still struggling. There is the hint. [Just my humble opinion.]

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This isn't unusual

    The current company I work for, the one previous (a competing mobile phone co) and the one previous to that had similar expenses policies. This isn't unique to Vodafone - it seems to be the norm now. It used to be that any expense when out of your normal working environment was claimable, but it progressively got less and less.

    I remember querying it at the time when they made the changes and it was something to do with HMRC guidelines and with the tax man saying anything above the most basic re-imbursement would be classed as earnings and as such was to be included in PAYE and NI. Most employers therefore just make it simple and say 'not included'. See https://www.gov.uk/expenses-and-benefits-travel

    Where I work now, we have to have sign-off in triplicate from god to do any travel at all, and only evening meals are covered on expenses. If you're in a hotel they'll book bed and breakfast by default. But lunch is your cost even away from home.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We had a day rate on site

    I've worked for over half a year onsite somewhere, and we had a daily stipend. How we spent it wasn't really dictated (it was added to our salary), but as it was in Asia you could comfortably feed a family on it if you spent some time working out where to buy your food and didn't buy alcohol.

    I must say, from an expense perspective that was *perfection* - the only thing I had to expense were taxis.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vodafone HR allowances vs UK HMRC allowances

    In the UK it's traditionally been HMRC that decide what (and how much) is allowable reimbursement, at least for tax-free purposes. Employers are obviously free to be stricter with their own rules.

    If only Vodafone had a professional tax expert available to them.

    Presumably Dave Hartnett doesn't have the required knowledge or time or has left Vodafone (after leaving HMRC to join Vodafone?)

    GIYF.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vodafone HR allowances vs UK HMRC allowances

      The problem is that you even need a "professional tax expert" (that's like someone skilled in "cat locomotion modes")

  20. Tubz

    and yet the bosses at the top can claim for anything from socks to massive drinks parties and jollies overseas with family in-tow, so nice to be able to screw your hard working employees from ivory towers !

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
      Trollface

      Time was, they'd just screw the secretaries.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My wonderful employer will never pay for lunches even when abroad and breakfast must be before 8:00 and evening meals after 17:00. Colleagues have had breakfast at airports refused as it was after 8:00 UK time once they had cleared customs even though they had spent most of the night travelling on an plane which didn’t provide breakfast. Don’t mind taking sandwiches for a day trip but not really practical for a week in a hotel in Kenya.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Solution is to show up at the meeting unkemp, with an untucked shirt proudly displaying sandwich leftovers.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 10hrs "on duty"

    IIRC there's some case law regarding overtime, I think, that states if you're away from your normal work place then travel is "on the clock"

    So if you work for Voda I strongly urge you to do some research ;-)

    Note to Voda; take the piss out of your employees and you'll soon find they return the favour.

    One alcoholic drink you say? I think you'll find many an establishment is happy to serve a nice bottle of red in a "single serving" just ask

  23. COMM83

    Whats the issue?

    Seems like a good policy to me. Make your own lunch and take it, or buy your own. Companies aren't expected to pay for office based employee's lunches so why should they when your out of the office...

    Given how expensive eating out is coupled with the fact most employee's will spend more than necessary on company expenses its no surprise.

    Move jobs if you don't like it.

    1. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: Whats the issue?

      Allowing employees a modest allowance in the way of refreshments while doing work out of the ordinary is all part of the "bread and circuses" of business.

      A company that chooses to remove such minor comforts in order to save small amounts (as a percentage of operating costs) causes discontent in the ranks with risk of mob turning nasty.

      A company that needs to cut such perks to save money, is probably in a financial hole.

      1. spacecadet66

        Re: Whats the issue?

        So either the management is both callous and shortsighted, or Vodafone is in dire financial straits. Either way, it's a bad look.

      2. KBeee

        Re: Whats the issue?

        There used to be a saying along the lines of "When the Company you work for starts counting the pens and the paperclips, look for a new Company".

        Also, over the years many subsidised canteens have vanished in the UK because HMRC now consider them a taxable perk, and it's simpler for the Company just to close them rather than fuck around. I believe the opposite happens in France, where giving your Worker Bees a reasonably priced meal is encouraged.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Move jobs if you don't like it.

      Yes you're right, if Vodafone's intent was to persuade their most capable employees to quit and go elsewhere, then this was a good move.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: Move jobs if you don't like it.

        "Yes you're right, if Vodafone's intent was to persuade their most capable employees to quit and go elsewhere, then this was a good move."

        That's a lot cheaper than redundancies.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Whats the issue?

      Move jobs if you don't like it.

      Schnorrer!

  24. Jason Hindle Bronze badge

    Sounds fairly Standard

    Travel outside of normal working hours should probably be on the clock though. And the policy should only be covering day trips. I haven't done a one day business trip in donkeys' years, but always used to bring my own sarnies along. Travel and expenses policies have, across the tech business, been trending meaner for a long time. Absent another boom, I'm not expecting this to improve anytime soon.

  25. smudge Silver badge
    Joke

    What does El Reg pay for?

    As many have said, Vodafone's expenses regime is nothing unusual.

    Therefore I can only conclude that the Register pays for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Elevenses and afternoon tea as well.

    Maybe even for the kebab on the way home from the fully-expensed pub night. Provided you can obtain a receipt and find it the next day.

  26. ukgnome Silver badge
    Trollface

    Which is why

    I am a contractor

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Which is why

      Don't worry, HMRC are on your case... IR35 can bite you hard in the Ass.

      After two audits in 5 years I raised the white flag and went permie. (HMRC went away with zip. My accounts were all in order and even my VAT was spot on but someone didn't like me)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's simple really

    If I'm doing anything for my employer then I expect to be reimbursed for my time and effort. I recently refused to travel overseas on a Sunday because I would not have been paid for the time. The Sunday flight was cheaper than one on a Monday so they wanted to win both ways, cheaper flight plus me travelling for several hours in my own time. In the end they sent somebody else.

    When you look at it, we employees are the ones who make our employers the money. I don't subscribe to this idea of working hours as required without overtime pay, travelling in your own time or not being provided with basic refreshments when you are travelling on company business.

    I would not dream of being paid for hours I'm not working and I wouldn't expect to have to work for free either.

  28. Gnoitall
    Trollface

    I'll just leave this here.

    http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-08-24

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
  29. spacecadet66

    Pennywise and pound foolish

    They've managed to save possibly several thousand pounds. Congratulations! Just don't count on your employees to ever do more than the bare minimum to avoid the sack.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pennywise and pound foolish

      What it's usually about, really, is that the little people in HR and Finance believe it is ever so great and glorious to be travelling all over the place at the company's expense, so they get very envious and set out to exact whatever little revenge there is to be had within the scope of their feeble powers.

      To break their spell, one has to deliberately exceed the limits on hotels, flights or whatever, then have ones manager sign for the expenses and then ram it down their throats. After that one can scale back one star on the hotel or whatever and they will leave it well alone (until new people arrive and one has to make an impression yet again).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pennywise and pound foolish

        I once worked at a company who were really stingy with equipment, most staff had 19" monitors when 24" were the norm, and the developers struggled, but also the finance staff also struggled with their tiny screens and big spreadsheets. When some new finance people were starting, I was able to buy larger monitors with their PCs, and I gave the new good monitors to some developers and then passed the crappy old 19" onto the new finance staff. I figured punishing the accountants for stingy practises was simply helping karma!

  30. Daniel Bower

    This sounds no different to every company I've worked for. If I'm buying my own lunch it's never allowed on expenses.

    If I take a 'client' out to lunch for a coffee and a sarnie the whole lot can go on expenses. You know I never eat lunch on my own...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair enough

    better done through wages rather than a benefit anyway

    and no 12 hours and arriving home after 8pm is NOT a long day. I bet these people never even slept under their desk to get a project done......

    additionally a few £100 per day is probably your personal TCO....recruitment, salary, management, training, pension, PAYE contributions, holidays, sickness etc etc ....let alone any margin.

    This is why your jobs are outsourced people.

    1. Mookster
      FAIL

      Re: Fair enough

      Did you never notice that salary is taxed, while benefits aren't?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fair enough

        I think you'll find the tax man wants a word with you

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Fair enough

      I bet these people never even slept under their desk to get a project done......

      Sleeping under the desk is now getting a projet done.

      Go home, [euphemism for gay person].

  32. Paul 181

    Tolls

    Reminds me of this at a place I used to work at

    They stopped paying for the Dartford toll as you couldn't get a receipt

    So the engineers said ok and drove the other way around the M25

    Week after the rule was ditched

  33. jerehada

    gatekeepers

    Expenses in corporates are a nightmare. They pay layers of internal people and external agencies to make it as difficult as possible to claim expenses. They are incentivised to reduce YoY expenses and really could'nt give a damn about being paid back in timely fashion. It takes hours to make claims and they use your personal credit to help with cashflow. I set aside a half a day for scanning and attaching and printing expenses and got forbid you mislay a receipt or catch a taxi at the wrong time of day. All they do is waste time and piss of staff for no reason.

  34. Crawdaddy

    Why make it about meal types?

    Some industries just give you a blanket amount for the day $100 OR that's your limit and submit accordingly as long as you're travelling overnight. It's the large enterprises that have problems with different office. Policy was no lunch coverage since you bought it anyway. But, I was in a remote location with food a good 20-30minutes away so I always brought my lunch. OR, could only use pre-approved hotel s eventhough an event had a discount rate for the hotel hosting the event. The difference was $20/night. I spent more on taxi. OR, how about room service. I knew one coworker took taxis to get dinner since room service wasn't covered. I could spend $50 on room service OR $50 externally and another $20-$30 on taxi. Ridic.

  35. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "...which disclosed a profit of more than £2m in its last quarterly update..."

    There are coffee shops (I mean *one* outlet) that generate quarterly profits of the same magnitude.

    The quote was written as if this was a large number. In this context, it isn't. It's simply pathetic.

  36. Boring Bob

    You guys are nuts

    You English people are nuts, you are so used to being scr*wed you bend over at every opportunity. Here in Paris my company has two different sites, both with subsidised canteens (about £2 or £3 for a three-course meal). When we go to the other site (a 30 minute drive away) we put the lunch on expenses. This is considered normal in France, no one would consider paying for their own lunch when traveling and no one would ever consider buying a sandwich ????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You guys are nuts

      no one would ever consider buying a sandwich

      Well, duh, of course not. You call that a baguette :).

      As for food, I must admit I rather liked Paris, in that it is the opposite of London re. food quality. In London you have to look hard to find good food at a sensible price, in Paris it's hard work to find crap food if you were so inclined, you'd have to go to McDonalds or a cheap tourist trap.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You guys are nuts

        > Paris it's hard work to find crap food

        Not sure when or where you've been in London to claim that Paris is some massively superior food Mecca. I've worked all over Paris and it's the same crap everywhere with very very limited choice. You'd better love ham and cheese baguettes

        1. Boring Bob

          Re: You guys are nuts

          Like the UK you get what you pay for. The difference is most companies heavily subsidise a canteen (small companies share one), those that don't provide luncheon vouchers. It is very rare that people buy sandwiches, generally only if they are in a hurry (this is often considered badly by colleagues as the purpose of lunch is to share time with them) If you were eating sandwiches for lunch everyday in Paris there is a problem somewhere.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: You guys are nuts

      I might not buy a sandwich but when I used to visit the Paris offices of one of the companies I worked for we got a smorgasbord of stuff to eat on the go and a 2 baguettes with butter and a round of Camembert* and I was a happy cholesterol laden bunny, even if the keyboard needed jet washing.

      The Camembert was 'President' brand. In France it is a completely different animal to the same product on UK shelves. And I mean animal - that stuff cures sinusitis before you get it into your mouth.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: You guys are nuts

        "The Camembert was 'President' brand. In France it is a completely different animal to the same product on UK shelves. And I mean animal - that stuff cures sinusitis before you get it into your mouth."

        I can totally believe that. In contrast, I won't touch the 'President' brand in Switzerland because there are much better alternatives.

        I'm going back to the eighties now, but I never had a problem finding a decent lunch in Paris, but I am talking about a sit down lunch rather than a baguette at your desk.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You guys are nuts

      I loved working for the French.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £2m quarterly profit is chump change. You'd expect that from a company of 100-150 people.

    Though improving that is addressing the massive strategic missteps they've made in cloud and connected technologies - not frigging about with the cost of a sandwich and drink.

    I would just set limits of £5 for lunch and breakfast when travelling, and £15 for evening meal if your're working or travelling after 8pm - all costs for travel chargeable as out of pocket to a client.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just install a SAP expenses module that nobody can understand and takes 20 minutes to claim for each receipt. It will save you millions.

    I worked for a company that did this, nobody could be bothered to claim for incidentals like coffees and sandwiches

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      SAP Expenses module

      Yep, had that one. So we put down the time spent claiming expenses on our timesheets. One week, I logged 15 hours on it after a week in the USA on a client site.

      The SAP module didn't last long when the £100/hour we would be billing customers was taken into consideration vs the hours spent filling in the claims.

      Then there are the timesheet systems that won't let you book more or less than the standard day/week.

      So your 14 hour day up to your neck in client issues (after a 4hr drive to the site) looks all find and dandy to the bean counters as a normal 7.5 hours.

      Talk about fixing the books.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Talk about fixing the books.

        One place I worked went through period of particularly poor performance from the IT department, so bad that it showed up on the timesheets which used to have a specific booking code for "IT downtime".

        The company's fix: remove the IT downtime booking code.

      2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: SAP Expenses module

        "Yep, had that one. So we put down the time spent claiming expenses on our timesheets."

        Yup. Went from 15 minutes per month for timesheets to 1 hour a week, at a stroke.

        I couldn't help feeling that if sales invoices took as much effort to generate, the company's days were numbered, and sure enough, they were.

        1. Cian Duffy

          Re: SAP Expenses module

          Way back when a former employer started enforcing field engineering timesheets "to the minute" they started finding a good hour+ a day logged as overtime for "filling timesheets"

          Strangely enough they decided that the former system of trusting the engineers was actually perfectly OK.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SAP Expenses module

        It's being monitored?

  39. Roopee
    Facepalm

    HMRC Does Not Pay Your Expenses!

    @Voland

    "HMRC has a conversation with the employer as they are not very happy paying for stuff which the employer should have paid."

    I think you misunderstand the expenses aspect of Self-Assessment. HMRC does not reimburse you for the allowable expenses. Making an expense claim on your tax form is for a deduction from your salary to reduce the amount of tax you pay. I.e. some expenses are "allowable" (as a deduction). If you paid the expense, you claim the deduction, if the employer paid then they claim it. The effect of this is to make the expense tax-free for whichever party paid it.

    In practice most employers (including one-man-band employers like myself) have a dispensation agreement with HMRC for various classes of expense to reduce the PAYE paperwork of all 3 parties.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HMRC Does Not Pay Your Expenses!

      If your firm doesn't reimburse you then claim it from HMRC.

  40. Andy 97

    £2M profit in 3 months?

    A company the size of VF only gererated £2M in 3 months?

    Is this a misprint or will shareholders be baying for a new CEO before long?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thales expense process

    I work for Thales in the UK and they have a very annoying policy. If you are working away and need a hotel, the company's travel agency, Carlson Wagonlit, will book a hotel for you, but you have to register a credit card and they will bill your card.

    You then have to do expenses to claim the bill, most people do it with a screen-shot of their credit card transactions. if you're unlucky, and you're away for a week and submit expenses after the cut-off date, it can take six weeks to receive the expense money, but in the meantime you have to settle the card yourself! I ended up effectively loaning the company £400 for three weeks after one trip.

    Staff complained, and the company's answer is that you can get a company credit card. This is a stupid answer because although the card is in a card scheme, you still personally have to settle the bill! But now you can't get the benefit of cashback, Avios or other schemes.

    Facepalm.

    Quite a few people now think hard about whether taking up training courses or doing vital offsite work is affordable.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  42. Z Ippy

    Not Really Saving Costs

    Employees will find ways to screw the company in other ways.

    I get stuck in cheap hotels, but they charge for car parking and dinner is expensive to make up for the cheap rooms. Work doesn't see the connection of course.

    This week a pint of cola, a burger and a desert to my room cost £30! I can only claim a maximum of £20 per day so when working away its either dinner or lunch but rarely breakfast as most hotels charge £15 for that alone.

    It makes me less efficient being hungry and customers notice not stopping for lunch and ask why.

  43. This post has been deleted by its author

  44. Pandora LB

    "– whereas most other large businesses happily cover expenses incurred on long days, such as a packet of sandwiches and a hot drink."

    Yeah! ... Who?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Biscuit Dunkers"

    Riddled with too many Underperforming "under the radar" "Senior Managers of Senior Managers" all too busy looking busy attending "important meetings" of meetings whilst driving & flying! between regional offices and Newbury HQ still incurring Hotel Costs/when they moved to a so called regional model March 2016 to curb such costs dressed up as getting closer to their customers.Sadly still spiralling and with a knock on recruitment effect unless you live within 1 hours drive time of Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham' Stoke, Paddington.

  46. scotitan

    outrageous

    It's pretty outrageous that they would scrooge a measly cup of coffee or tea, the argument will probably be we dont pay you to drink poisonous stimulants on 'Vodaphone' time. But every place I have ever worked people have always bought there own tea or coffee, in fact last place was operating heavy machinery and it even came with a special coffee Cup Holder, if managment want's to be mean on when your allowed to have a break and what you may or may not drink, maybe it's time to find an employer who doesnt care so long as you get the work done!

  47. FlippingGerman

    "a profit of more than £2m in its last quarterly update" - that doesn't seem like much, particularly considering Wikipedia lists a profit for 2017 of £6 beellion.

  48. 2Fat2Bald

    I do wonder to what extent people withdraw their "goodwill" when benefits are cut. it's easy to put the costs on a spreadsheet and show you've saved money, but there are less tangible costs involved.

    What they don't see is that salesman visiting the client and turning up cranky because his Octavia greenline is not as a nice as the BMW 320d he used to have. Or the technician who at 4pm says "Well, I'd better hit the road if I want to be home for dinner", rather than billing another 2 hours. They've got no idea the guys who fixed the CRM databases at 11am Thursday would, for the price of Pizza haven't fixed it 8pm Wednesday. One risk is that the company looks "cheap" or, worse "desperate" and gets the smell of death about it - both customers and competitors will get that.

    On the one hand, there is no reason for a technical rep to have a company Porsche or for a sales droid to stay in a £2000 a night knightsbridge hotel. On the other, you can't really rely on the goodwill of a many who's forced to bring his own sarnies to a conference, where everyone else pops to the bar afterwards.

  49. Potemkine! Silver badge
  50. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Three options....

    Either:

    Vodafone pay you all so well that the reported 12p for a cup of hot water to make your tea is ok

    OR

    You are incapable of getting a job anywhere else

    OR

    You are too lazy to tell the tight fisted ****** s where to stick there job and move

    It is amazing just how even a big company can be made to realise the error of its ways when people start leaving. Your skills are useful elsewhere and other companies provide tea, coffee, biscuits, bread for toast (and toasters), subsidised lunches, (even where I am free breakfast), cakes (when they haven't been made to feel guilty about their employees sugar intake), some places I have been at even supplied beer. If people actively decided to go looking then the best would soon be leaving, the rest would be following and suddenly things will change. Top that by the fact that I am not the only one who has NEVER accepted a job where they dont provide free tea and coffee and they will find themselves short of much needed and profitable resource quickly.

  51. Robert E A Harvey

    About a million years ago I was a telephone engineer for the then GPO.

    They gave us vauxhall viva vans - with the heater removed.

    I was entitled to a subsistence allowance if I was more than 7 miles from the depot at lunch time. It was 31p (we had just been decimalised).

    This was to cover the difference between what I would normally pay for Lunch, and what I might have to pay somewhere I was not familiar with.

    So I am in no way surprised.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Redundancy loomng?

    Every firm I've seen do this follows up with mass redundancy soon afterwards.

    Bon appetit

  53. mrfill

    Expenses for lunch with HMRC

    I wonder if the lunches with HMRC to discuss what rate of corporation tax Vodafone fancies paying, is allowable on expenses?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprised. Whilst I empathise (a little) with people claiming for things they would otherwise pay for if they were in the office, Vodafone as a whole is now extremely toxic. People are a liability rather than the engine that actually makes things happen. I'm glad to be out of it. More redundancies? There can't be many people left - but I look forward to seeing the talent released in the annual cull next March, who will all go on to better paid, more fulfilling, senior roles elsewhere.

  55. P0l0nium

    Simples ...

    You stun a pigeon and fry it up on your travel iron*. Problem solved :-)

    (* Dilbert- c1999)

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Corporate Pay

    This must be why the CEO Vittorio Colao gets to justify his £9 Million pound a year salary and Theresa May has to backtrack and turn a blind eye to the great corporate pay divide debate !

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