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Old Oct 1, 08, 1:51 am   #1
 
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Need advice regarding Per Diem travel allowance

Hi QFF forum,

I have recently started working for a company that pays no Per Diem travel allowances, even for lengthy (3 weeks+) overseas assignments. They pay for hotels and expenses of course.

Is this something that is common in the corporate world, or would I have a strong case in arguing for a change in the company policy?
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Old Oct 1, 08, 1:57 am   #2
 
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Sounds strange, and Welcome to the forums Roger!

The company I work for has per diem rates depending on countries for general expenses but no allowance for food.

We have travel, accommodation and expenses such as taxis/hire cars covered, with an allowance per day for food and other minor expenses. All the companies I've ever worked for have similar policies, ranging from big corporates like AT&T to little companies with a few staff. Maybe best to have a word with management on that one, as it's not the norm that I know of. Perhaps they're happy to refund expenses instead?
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Old Oct 1, 08, 2:36 am   #3
 
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My previous employers - two major banks and a smaller financial services company never paid per diems, but paid for all expenses. I thought per diems belonged to the public service.

Last edited by sarvowinner; Oct 1, 08 at 2:36 am. Reason: typo
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Old Oct 1, 08, 2:50 am   #4
 
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Most of the places I've worked have a per diem for food/incidentals just to save hassle when doing expense reports. We'll usually do straight expenses for short trips of a day or two then use the per diem when they start getting longer.
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Old Oct 1, 08, 3:53 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger That View Post
Is this something that is common in the corporate world, or would I have a strong case in arguing for a change in the company policy?
The ATO allows a travel allowance to be paid to employees by the employer which is essentially a per diem basis, claim it as an expense and is non-taxable for the employee so it doesnt need to be taken as a wage*.

So while there is a way for them to give you what is almost free money, I don't see why any company would give you something for nothing if you know what I mean...

Does your company give you free lunch at work usually? If so then I'd be looking to have the policy changed or some significant benefit for extended travel. At the end of the day you're working for them on the entire trip - it's not like you're on a holiday.

* Confirm with your accountant
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Old Oct 1, 08, 3:54 am   #6
 
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If your expense are paid, why would you expect a per diem payment? I thought a 'per diem' payment is to cover for expenses incurred, what other 'expenses' were you referring to?

Have you checked with the company regarding claiming back any additional expenses afterwards?

If your company has a corporate credit card and your job requires you to travel regularly, maybe you should get one?

I've worked for a company which stated a daily limit, but it's something you have to claim afterwards and not pre-paid to you. Otherwise, I'd get paid $50/day for meals, but only get a sandwich and pocket the rest.
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Old Oct 1, 08, 4:38 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
If your expense are paid, why would you expect a per diem payment? I thought a 'per diem' payment is to cover for expenses incurred, what other 'expenses' were you referring to?

Have you checked with the company regarding claiming back any additional expenses afterwards?

If your company has a corporate credit card and your job requires you to travel regularly, maybe you should get one?

I've worked for a company which stated a daily limit, but it's something you have to claim afterwards and not pre-paid to you. Otherwise, I'd get paid $50/day for meals, but only get a sandwich and pocket the rest.
My first question was exactly the same. If a company is paying all expenses then why would they give you extra money? Unless you don't have a corporate CC and are wanting a per diem allowance upfront?

When I travel on work (usually to countries in Central/Eastern Europe) my per diem is 32 which goes a very long way in some of those countries. Actually for extended stays it's quite a nice profit turner .

I guess if your not happy with the current arrangement you could talk to your manager, but being the new guy it may not be the right thing to do.
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Old Oct 1, 08, 7:54 am   #8
 
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My employers allowed me to claim all legitimate expenses, so they and I foresaw no need for a per diem.
Small cash items such as taxis could be claimed in bulk if a receipt was not available.
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Old Oct 1, 08, 8:19 am   #9
 
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It varies - some pay actuals, some pay per diem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger That View Post
Hi QFF forum,

I have recently started working for a company that pays no Per Diem travel allowances, even for lengthy (3 weeks+) overseas assignments. They pay for hotels and expenses of course.

Is this something that is common in the corporate world, or would I have a strong case in arguing for a change in the company policy?
I've worked for companies that paid actual expenses before - you just need to make sure you get a receipt for everything (and then waste a full day doing your expenses when you get back) - you should check if they have a limit on how much you can expensed each day. A colleague who was being paid actuals used it to his advantage and often ate at VERY expensive restaurants - unlike what he does now working in my current company. My current company pays per diems which varies in amount depending on which country(or even city in some cases).

So - depending on how you look at it, actuals (while more of a hassle to claim later) can allow you to eat better, but per diems can allow you to make a bit of extra cash for yourself if you eat frugally.

I assmuming from your post that your company will pay actual expenses rather than not cover your costs at all.

Last edited by dotty; Oct 1, 08 at 8:22 am. Reason: spelling error
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Old Oct 1, 08, 8:43 am   #10
 
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No company or client I have worked for pays per diem, and this is my experience both in Europe & Australia. Everything is expenses based.

Generally there your company will have a policy which then states what class of travel, type of hotel, corporate rates etc will be paid out against.
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Old Oct 1, 08, 8:52 am   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveloguy View Post
No company or client I have worked for pays per diem, and this is my experience both in Europe & Australia. Everything is expenses based.

Generally there your company will have a policy which then states what class of travel, type of hotel, corporate rates etc will be paid out against.
It all depends. In Germany, almost everything is per diem as this is a requirement of the Tax office. You will only be able to claim extra expenses if you have to entertain people.
My current employer is only reimbursing actual cost with the MD checking that all is reasonable.
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Old Oct 1, 08, 10:32 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveloguy View Post
No company or client I have worked for pays per diem, and this is my experience both in Europe & Australia. Everything is expenses based.

Generally there your company will have a policy which then states what class of travel, type of hotel, corporate rates etc will be paid out against.
In banking I have only had per diem allowances not expenses and that goes for most people I know who also work in banking.
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Old Oct 1, 08, 11:52 am   #13
 
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Having travelled extensively for the last 15 years I have never had a per diem rate (or if I did I never knew about it).

Now that I run my own firm I still use the same approach. This is because a day rate for Hotel in New York in July is a fortune for a hotel room in Ballarat for the same day.

We find it simpler to pay expenses than keep extensive rates list updated for cities and seasons

Chandi
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Old Oct 1, 08, 4:53 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bensyd View Post
In banking I have only had per diem allowances not expenses and that goes for most people I know who also work in banking.
I suspect consulting is probably more expense based because at the end of the day, the client gets billed and often even requires receipts to back up any charges.
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Old Oct 1, 08, 5:00 pm   #15
 
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Thanks for all the replies.

Yes, my employer reimburses travel expenses. In my past jobs for European companies and Government related corporations, there have been a per diem allowance from which you pay for the travel related expenses.

I think the per diem method is more convenient as there is no need to keep lots of receipts and then having to spend a good part of a day to account for them all when you get back from longer trips.

The issue is not trying to profit from an allowance, but having it set at a reasonable level that reduces unnecessary paperwork.

From the responses here, it seems there are companies in each camp with no clear dominant policy position in industry regarding this issue?
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