Business

Vodafone won't pay employee expenses for cups of coffee

Travelling far and wide in the UK? Feed yourself out of your own pocket, says telco

By Gareth Corfield

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Tight-fisted Vodafone rejects expenses claims for food and snacks for hard-worked people pulling 12-hour days, hacked-off sources have told The Register.

We have seen copies of Voda's expenses policy, which states that lunches are virtually never expensable, breakfasts can only be claimed on an overnight stay and dinners can only be claimed for if you've worked for 10 hours and get home after 8pm.

In effect, this means people travelling across the country must fund their own meals out of their own pocket – whereas most other large businesses happily cover expenses incurred on long days, such as a packet of sandwiches and a hot drink.

"This is crazy, being expected to travel around the country and fund yourself," one source at Vodafone told us. "If it was a company of few people you'd expect this. I'm angry about it. They're charging customers several hundred a day for face-to-face meetings. I expect there's enough money to buy me a cup of coffee."

Our source said that on a particular assignment they left home at dawn and got home well after 8pm, with several hours of travel to and from the site. In spite of that, they were not allowed to claim back anything – except for the cost of travel (train tickets and mileage).

Vodafone's 12-page expenses policy, dated June 1 2017, states that breakfast is "not generally a reimbursable expense" with the exception of overnight hotel stays. Lunch is also "not generally a reimbursable expense unless you are on a business trip outside the UK". Evening meals can be claimed "if [employees] are on duty for 10 hours or more in the day and due to arrive home after 8.00pm" – but, as our source said, who wants to eat out after getting home late?

The Brit mobile network operator, which disclosed a profit of more than £2m in its last quarterly update, failed to respond to our request for comment. ®

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