One-fifth of employees admit they have committed fraud against their employer, and more claim they are justified in the lead up to Christmas, a survey has found.
Research by employee expenses service provider GlobalExpense found 20% of staff admit to having exaggerated expense claims, while one in 10 said it was likely they would do it again due to economic difficulties during the festive season.
It is estimated that nearly four million UK employees can claim expenses, with the average amount added to an expense claim around £14.
David Vine, managing director of GlobalExpense, said: "The further the country falls into recession and people feel the pinch, the more employees are being tempted to fiddle their expenses."
"Worryingly, 95% of people say their employer has never queried or rejected an expense claim for being too high. Companies and organisations need to take this issue more seriously and put more effective controls in place."
Nearly 2,000 adults were polled in the survey, which also found 28% of employees would fudge expenses claims if they felt they were not paid a fair salary.
Mike Schuck, chief executive of Action Against Business Crime, doubted the Christmas season would have a positive effect on staff fraud.
"The Christmas conditions don't change the ability to commit fraud, just whether financial conditions force staff to do irresponsible things," Schuck told Personnel Today.
"Usually at this time of year, employees are so run off their feet they often don't have time to even consider it."