Employers have hundreds of things to do. Policing their employees’ work expenses is often one task that doesn’t get too much time spent on it.
While the majority of your employees will be making reasonable expenses, a closer look at some expense forms may reveal that one or two of your employees may be taking the mickey.
You may notice that an employee is not providing receipts to justify their expenses; incurring unusually large and extravagant expenses or there are expenses that simply don’t correspond to their role’s responsibilities. All of which should be ringing alarm bells and require a second look at what they claiming.
Dealing with employees who falsify expenses
Dishonesty is when an employee is seeking to gain any advantage through deception. This includes making a false claim for expenses or overtime, falsely claiming to be sick or falsely claiming to have completed a particular task. Dishonesty can amount to gross misconduct and provide grounds for summary dismissal.
Gross misconduct is an act which is so serious that it justifies dismissal without notice, or pay in lieu of notice, for a first offence. They must be acts that destroy the relationship of trust and confidence between the employer and employee, making the working relationship impossible to continue.
But even in these cases, you must still follow a fair procedure. This means you must investigate the allegations and if there appears to be enough evidence to indicate misconduct, you can commence disciplinary proceedings. This should be in line with your disciplinary procedure and the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.
To discuss this further, contact your Employment Law experts who can guide you step by step through what you need to do to conduct a fair disciplinary procedure.
Having a small group of employees falsifying their expenses will not only mean you lose a small fortune, but it could set an example for others that this type of behaviour is standard practice (something you want to avoid at all costs!).
It’s important to have a clear and robust expenses policy in place which sets out limits on how much employees can spend and the relevant time limits. You can ask them to present you with receipts to justify their expenditure or ask for prior approval for expenses. This policy should be in a clearly accessible place for all employees, for example, on your intranet.
Additionally, you should take some time to look at your workplace culture to ensure that it is in no way encouraging dishonest behaviour and nobody is authorising their own expenses. This will also help you to control and minimise company expenses effectively.