Anyone else getting absurd expenses?

We have an annual company awards scheme with a glitzy awards ceremony and meal held at a swanky hotel and attended by nearly 1,000 employees.

We do not offer to pay for dress hire as it is not a black tie event, but the evening includes free booze (four bottles of wine for a table of eight), a three-course meal, free transport from the office to the hotel and back again, along with a high-profile celebrity presenter and cash prizes for award winners.

It’s a chance for office-bound staff to get out, dress up and enjoy themselves. Yet with all this, my finance director tells me that we still get landed with the most amazing expense claims, most recently a few for cosmetics, a massage and the hire of a tiara.

When we sent out an e-mail telling people that such expenses were not permissible, several people said the company was tight-fisted and they wouldn’t attend the awards evening again.

After all these years in HR, unrealistic employee expectations still astound me, as does the fact that such basic rules have to be spelled out to employees.

Does anyone else have any answers to this problem?

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