back to article DXC slashes meal allowances for travelling troops: Please sir, may I have some more?

In the pursuit of ways to further squeeze its overheads, DXC Technologies has issued a fresh directive to the troops by further clipping travel costs and capping client entertainment. This is a tightening of previous rules instigated by the powers that be at DXC in May – the outsourcing provider is seeking to slash its …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £30 is pretty standard. The fact they don't need to arse about with receipts is a major plus, frankly - that's an hour or two a week saved for the travelling consultant.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      In Germany you get around a tenner, if you are under way for between 8 and 24 hours, over 24 hours, you get 21 quid for food (with receipt).

      If you stay in a hotel over night, you get another 18 quid, without the need for receipt.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That is fine provided that there is an exception mechanism

    30£ with the exception of London itself is tolerable if you can eat anything. If you have dietary requirements on health grounds like diabetes, allergies, etc things get interesting as you cannot just eat anything.

    You definitely cannot walk into any McDonalds and have some McFood any more (unless you want to end up in a morgue).

    This is the reason why I put this up-front as a requirement before we even start talking about a job. No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Re: That is fine provided that there is an exception mechanism

      I do not understand why downvotes. It is not as if you are asking for higher allowance because you are picky.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That is fine provided that there is an exception mechanism

      There are very few food allergies or intolerances that necessarily cost more to satisfy. Any decent restaurant will be able to handle coeliac, nut-allergy, vegetarian etc. at no extra cost, and for eat-on-the-go snacks it just takes a little forward planning.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That is fine provided that there is an exception mechanism

        Any decent restaurant

        Decent restaurant which caters for allergy exceptions properly in most of the UK starts at £20 a meal. City centers - you are looking at £40. While UK is bad, it is nowhere near as bad as let's say France or Belgium though. There no money can buy you clean food unless you find one of the very few remaining Lebanese or other Mediterranean places which have not gone French and have not started frying everything instead of grilling it.

        There are very few food allergies or intolerances that necessarily cost more to satisfy.

        1. Gluten intolerance. Just try to find cooked food for £30 a day if you cannot intake any wheat gluten. Remember - you have to fit breakfast, lunch and dinner into a 30£ total. It is not just one meal. As a diagnosed celiac I am telling you that this is in the realm of delusion. If, like me you cannot intake the replacements (I cannot eat rice), you are looking at £70 (breakfast + lunch + dinner) unless you cook yourself which in turn blows your hotel allowance as you now have to rent serviced apartments instead of hotels. And frankly, there is a limit to the amount of trips you can survive on cold salad from Pret or a bag of your own dry cured ham, cheese and grapes (without any bread anywhere near it).

        2. Lactose intolerance and cow milk proteins allergy. Same as above. 99% of the fast food is spiked, you either have to cook your own or go to a proper restaurant. You are looking at >£40 for the UK to start off with.

        3. Intolerance to soy beans. Again - 90% of fast food is spiked.

        Taken these 3 together these are fairly common. Amidst them you are looking at ~2-5% of the workforce nowdays.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That is fine provided that there is an exception mechanism

          No you don't include lunch (I don't know many businesses that do these days), so now £30 for breakfast and dinner.

          In our village I can find you 3 pubs and a cafe that will easily cater to all of those, oh and a chip shop in the next village.

          That's nearly every single one of them.

          My ex is a Vegan and still can get food at a Toby CARVERY!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That is fine provided that there is an exception mechanism

          I am telling you that this is in the realm of delusion

          No, it isn't. I have family members with coeliac disease, wheat intolerance and various allergies, and although it's inconvenient it isn't as difficult as you're making out. When eating out as a family we've never had to go to special restaurants, even ordinary Italian restaurants can produce gluten-free pasta and will ensure it's coeliac-safe on request (Italy has a surprisingly high incidence of coeliac disease). Certainly you can't eat in McDonalds, but there are other fast-food chains. Pizza Express, oddly enough, can do coeliac-safe salads. TripAdvisor & similar is an excellent way to identify appropriate restaurants.

          nowhere near as bad as let's say France

          France is even easier, since chefs take so much more interest in food. I've never yet found a restaurant that won't take the time & interest to do this, even producing dishes that aren't formally on the menu for no additional cost. Nut allergies are trickier in France because there's no common single word for "nut", it sometimes takes a while to get the concept across, "fruits secs a coque" is something of a mouthful.

          It does take care, the current fad for gluten-free food as a health gimmick is a problem because some restaurants don't actually understand just how even tiny cross-contamination is a problem for a true coeliac sufferer, but there's no need to go to specialist restaurants. It might mean that on a business trip you get the boring plain fish or steak when the other guests are tucking into their tournedos Rossini, but you won't suffer that much.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: That is fine provided that there is an exception mechanism

            blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    3. Lysenko

      Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

      If you can prove you have a genuine issue (as opposed to internet self-diagnosis) then I suspect the Disability Discrimination Act is potentially in play.

      Even if it isn't (I haven't checked case law), putting the wind up HR with an (apparently) comprehensive knowledge of discrimination statutes is always entertaining.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

        AC says that s/he is "a diagnosed celiac", so has a formal diagnosis and a strict diet. I have no idea why their post got such heavy downvoting.

      2. thegroucho
        WTF?

        Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

        I appreciate this is very Off Topic, but:

        <Rant>

        Why the downvotes for the 'diagnosed celiac' and Lysenko's posts?

        While I have no sympathy for the 'self diagnosed' pseudo gluten-intolerant unfortunately it is an existing health condition for other people who actually get unwell from it. (I for one luckily don't have conditions).

        And it is a fact - most food which doesn't really need certain ingredients has it. Milk. Or egg. Or breadcrumbs. Or celery. Simple stuff you don't expect has it. Just look at the stuff written typically in bold or CAPITALS on the back of a packet. Luckily most of you will never have to bother reading the packet, you will just open it and gulp the food with no second thought.

        I hope none of you downvoters has to live with disability like that. What next - say that a disabled person is at fault for being disabled? Most aren't.

        A lot of restaurants don't have vegan options (I am not vegan nor vegetarian) or if they have typically you will be lucky if you have more than one meal option. Living off salads when going out will quickly become boring. Although veganism is a choice, it is also the best diet for Type 2 diabetes. And unfortunately some people get type 2 despite having reasonably healthy lifestyles.

        </Rant>

        Enjoy your lunches and let us hope we get paid our expenses on time.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

          "Why the downvotes for the 'diagnosed celiac' and Lysenko's posts?"

          Because the idea that you can't feed yourself gluten-free evening meals for less than £150 per working week is, er, a bit daft.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

          I have a gluten intolerance and I get the same 10 quid a day (12€) allowance as everybody else for food when on the road.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

            "I have a gluten intolerance and I get the same 10 quid a day (12€) allowance as everybody else for food when on the road."

            The problem here isn't anything to do with dietary restrictions, but your choosing to work for an employer with such a laughable meals allowance.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              @AC Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

              It has nothing to do with the company I work for. The tax office sets the rates over here. That is the legal allowance.

          2. HmmmYes Silver badge

            Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

            Well, germany is known for sausage and snitzel and ... thats it. 10 is fine.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

          Simple stuff you don't expect has it. Just look at the stuff written typically in bold or CAPITALS on the back of a packet.

          And then ignore it, because it doesn't give enough information. A simple example is a ground spice like pepper, which will never list ingredients other than pepper, yet may legally contain wheat flour as an anti-caking ingredient. There are specific, agreed, symbols and phrases for products that are truly "free from" certain things.

          Even so, coeliac disease is manageable, if anything it imposes a healthy diet because most junk food is off the menu. The key thing to do is ask in the restaurant. Anyone who has had any cook/chef training will understand the problem, and any restaurant should be able to produce a document explaining exactly what is in each dish. I know of French chain restaurants (Hippopotamus, for one) that can even produce that list in English on demand. If the waiter/waitress doesn't seem to understand, ask to speak to the cook. If they won't talk to a customer to understand the problem, leave.

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

          "Although veganism is a choice, it is also the best diet for Type 2 diabetes."

          Type 2 diabetes means you have to avoid leather shoes? Vegetarian and vegan are not the same.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

            Type 2 diabetes means you have to avoid leather shoes

            They are ok in moderation, but you can't have any rich sauce on them

            1. thegroucho
              Joke

              Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

              Avoid eating the soles, there is grit sometimes despite best efforts to remove it, also I find tanned leather upsets my digestion.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

                I quick like soles. Especially with chips and a bit of lemon

            2. Chris G Silver badge

              Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

              Type 2 diabetes means you have to avoid leather shoes

              They are ok in moderation, but you can't have any rich sauce on them.

              Personally, I find I have to leave the laces, they can be twirled on a fork like spaghetti but give me godawful indigestion.

          2. Joe Harrison Silver badge

            Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

            I have a special diet, not for health issues or adherence to any -isms, I just don't eat chopped up dead animals because it's gross. Dealing with that on business trips really is specific to where you are going but in some meat-with-everything places I literally don't eat anything at all on a short trip. For longer ones I get clean stuff from a supermarket. Nobody in accounts ever complains that I am not claiming enough...

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

              "I have a special diet, not for health issues or adherence to any -isms, I just don't eat chopped up dead animals because it's gross."

              That sounds very much like vegetarianism to me.

          3. thegroucho
            Trollface

            Re: No health based exception to per-diem, well sorry no deal.

            Thanks Doctor Syntax, I never knew the difference between vegetarian and vegan! I now know the error of my ways!

            Except that not every vegan person chooses to use leather substitutes.

    4. big_D Silver badge

      Re: That is fine provided that there is an exception mechanism

      Don't work in Germany then, the rates are fixed at a tenner for day travel for food and 20 quid if you are over 24 horurs on the road.

  3. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    One of the few things the US Govt does well...

    ...per diem on official travel is quite reasonable, even if you have special dietary requirements.

    What drove me nonlinear is having travel companions who fall into the following two categories: (1) people so cheap that they will bank their per diem by staying in a crack alley motel and eat stale crackers, and (2) ho's who would live off a contractor's card.

    If you're on travel I want you rested and ready for action...

    -CB

    1. sawatts

      Re: One of the few things the US Govt does well...

      One of the changes I lived through was the move from 'per diem' to 'actuals' as a UK Gov agency tried to go "real-world".

      'Per diem' allowed you could minimise costs and pocket the difference, which covered the inconvenience of not being at home. In my first year as a grad I pocketed £500 from a weeks conference thanks to travelling with a higher grade.

      'Actuals' didn't offer any incentive to save money - people switched from the fleabag motel to the nearest (nicest) hotels. The actuals were much more than the per diem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One of the few things the US Govt does well...

        So they brought in actuals without a limit equivalent to the per diem? Given HMRC set a daily expense limit before it's a benefit in kind I find that hard to believe.

        HMRC are also why per diems are very rare - we all know they're a tax-free fluffer for your salary.

        Public sector have nothing to complain about on this front though - they're one of the few groups left who still get paid for travel time!

      2. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

        Re: One of the few things the US Govt does well...

        I only rarely got govt to bite on actuals - usually involved traveling with a GS-14 or -15 who could work the 'team integrity' angle and get someplace nice.

        For the most part you are right that govvies get paid to travel, but that depends on your agency and who you are. If I traveled on weekends Id generally get screwed. Traveling on weekdays Id sometimes get travel comp if the mission exceeded 8 hrs ... less my typical commute time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One of the few things the US Govt does well...

      What hotel you decide to stay in has nothing to do with a meals allowance, it's based on what you actually spend up to £30 on meals and is not £30 that gets put into your bank account to be kept even if you don't use it . If you decide to eat stale crackers each day then you aren't too bright as you would only be able to claim a box of stale crackers each day.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: One of the few things the US Govt does well...

      I always considered the per diem as an "inconvenience allowance". During a normal week I'd have to buy & cook my own meals, and might eat out occasionally. The per diem isn't supposed to replace that, just to cover the extra costs and hassle of eating out every night.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    shiny penny

    Wow these rates have barely changed in over 20 years. Bringing in staff that think £15 is a kings ransom is a master stroke.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll save them a fortune.

    stop using bloody AmEX,

    Possible the most expensive card to use.

    A huge amount of businesses won't accept them either due to the extortionate handling charges.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll save them a fortune.

      It's the most expensive card to *accept*. It's the best card to use. All those sweet, sweet membership rewards and cashback get funnelled back to the company. You can easily take 2-3% off your expense outgoings. Given that travel and hotels are usually the number 2 or 3 expense in a consultancy organisation behind salary it's a huge sum of money.

      Why do you think they're so popular?

    2. DontFeedTheTrolls
      Boffin

      Re: I'll save them a fortune.

      "A huge amount of businesses won't accept them either due to the extortionate handling charges"

      Exactly. You can spend as much as you like...

      ... if you can find somewhere that will accept your Ningi's

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: I'll save them a fortune.

      I get about £90 per year cashback on my Amex. A lot of places don’t accept it which is a pain, and Amex Apple Pay works almost nowhere, even where they accept chip & pin Amex and Visa Apple Pay. I have a Santander Zero Mastercard for foreign currency payments as Amex isn’t so good there, and Nationwide Select Visa for where Amex isn’t accepted.

  6. Fenton

    Rates have gone up?

    When I was there it was £20 for an evening meal. (you made sure you booked a hotel with breakfast included) and that was it.

    So if you ended up working late which was not unusual and got back to the hotel at say 9/10pm the last thing you wanted to do was go in search of a cheap place to eat.

    Even the cheapest burger in the hotel was often £15. Add in a couple of drinks (even non alcoholic) and a side and your £20 budget is blown

  7. Anonymous Coward
  8. fruitoftheloon
    Stop

    Whinging bar stewards...

    I left Capita head office just over ten years ago, the per diem was £25 then, which I thought was more than adequate...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No change here

    Last time I traveled the limit was £80 per night for hotel and £20 per day for food which was nearly impossible to keep to given where we were allowed to stay. Allegedly I'm still a mobile consultant but have been effectively home based for the last 3 years due to the continual travel bans and I must say I don't miss it one little bit.

    My previous employers expense policy was quite simply "you can't drink enough to exceed the expenses limit". I tried a few times and the mornings afterwards just hurt too much.

    AC 'cos Little Nicky don't like us talking to El Reg. Which is why so many of us do.

  10. DontFeedTheTrolls
    Trollface

    If you accept that were you to be at home you would like have to spend some money on your breakfast and dinner then the allowance makes up the difference. If you really are that picky there's nothing stopping you either taking food with you or popping into a local supermarket near your hotel, most are open 7AM to 10PM these days.

  11. CSS

    Bend over

    Just bend over while we roger you some more folks. I’m sure some of the posts here are made by an incognito Nick Wilson. We are all fooked.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    actually - it's been uplifted £50 - I hope you've all enjoyed this pointless debate

  13. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
    Headmaster

    $ 70 per day while travelling abroad

    $ 70 should cover your expenses, provided you are travelling in Egypt and avoiding international hotels, but hardly if you're in Switzerland.

  14. DougS Silver badge

    When it was HP managed services

    I consulted for them on an SAP migration in 2000. We had a small team of a half dozen guys, and we'd regularly run up over $100/person for dinner, submitting receipts for our little group of $500 or so was pretty normal. On our last night the project leader took us out to a very expensive place for dinner and bought a few very expensive bottles of wine, and we topped $7000 (Canadian, or $5000 US back then)

    How times have changed.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You need to find reliable news sources - the meal allowances have actually been increased to £50 per day - lol

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Dan 55 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Do Indian workers in the UK travel in their own deflationary bubble?

    Indian workers who are temporarily based in the UK for project work, and who are receiving a per diem rate of £15 will need prior approval from the three managers, as above.

    1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

      Re: Do Indian workers in the UK travel in their own deflationary bubble?

      Little discrimination there? Experienced this myself recently- when my Asian wife's firm questioned her actuals on a trip to Southern California. Assumption is that because she is Asian she is supposed to eat on the cheap in Little Saigon. "But dont you kind of people group together?"

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