The claiming of expenses is not only a tricky issue for our Members of Parliament. As a employer, it is vital you have a clear expenses policy in place for legitimate business use only and you should review it regularly. It should also be seen to be enforced in practice to ensure that false claims are minimised.

The policy should make clear exactly what you are prepared to reimburse as a company and what does not fall within the expenses policy. Also it should be clear what supporting documentation is needed to support an expenses claim, such as receipts, and whether prior approval or countersigning is required.

Any limitations should also be made clear such as a maximum cost on hotel rooms, whether employees are only allowed to stay at a certain hotel chain, how much daily subsistence will be allowed, which class of air or train travel is allowed etc. Also to avoid employees building up large levels of expenses claims then putting them through the company all at once, which can be difficult for cash flow, it can be worth adding in that claims need to be made within a certain period of time.

If an expenses policy is amended, employees should be made aware in writing of the changes. You may wish to ask for sign off to ensure employees have read and understood these changes.

Your disciplinary policy should state that any dishonesty or fraud in relation to expenses claims which amounts to gross misconduct is likely to result in summary dismissal.