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Oxfam Expenses Policy

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					Oxfam Expenses Policy
Author: Emma Hillyard, UK Finance
CMT Sponsor: Bob Humphreys, Finance & IS Director
Area of Governance: Finance
Date for Renewal: January 2011
Approved by: CMT in January 2009
Geographical Scope: Worldwide

Policy Statement
Oxfam will reimburse staff and volunteers for reasonable additional expenditure incurred as a result of
carrying out Oxfam business. The value of expenditure claimed must fall within the limits currently
approved, as set out in the associated guidelines. Staff have a duty to get best value for money at all
times and a responsibility to act prudently and only incur expenses that are wholly necessary for
Oxfam’s business.

Guidelines
Staff Responsibilities
Oxfam Responsibilities
Scope and Application
Exceptions
Queries and Questions
Alcohol
Travelling
Public Transport
Taxis
Penalty Notices
Passports
Tips and Gratuities
Bribes
Receipts




Expenses Policy January 2009                                                                          1
Guidelines

Staff Responsibilities

Staff have a duty to get best value for money for Oxfam at all times. Staff have a responsibility to act
prudently and only incur expenses that are wholly necessary for Oxfam’s business, cost effective and
reasonable. They are also responsible for the prompt submission of correct claims. Managers are
responsible for checking and signing approval of expense claims from staff and volunteers reporting
to them.

Spending Oxfam’s money on expenses is no different to any other purchasing decision and should
follow Oxfam’s purchasing and supply procedure.


Oxfam Responsibilities

Oxfam has a duty to ensure that staff and volunteers are promptly reimbursed for expenditure
incurred and claimed in accordance with this policy.



Scope & Application
      This policy applies to all Oxfam GB staff and volunteers whether based in the UK, visiting the
       UK or based outside the UK.

      This policy applies to costs relating to Oxfam GB staff and volunteers, whether incurred in the
       UK or elsewhere.

      This policy covers all costs relating to Oxfam GB staff and volunteers, whether invoiced or
       reclaimed by individuals.


Exceptions
The policy acknowledges that there can be exceptions to the limits set out below in some countries
due to local circumstances. Such exceptions need to be approved in advance by the senior manager
responsible. Such exceptions need to be approved in advance by the Regional Director (RD)
responsible for the region that covers this country. Where the exception relates to a country not
covered by a region (e.g. Canada) the exception should be approved in advance by the claimant’s
line manager.


Queries & Questions
Queries about this policy should be directed in the first instance to your line manager. Where they are
unable to resolve a query you should contact the Finance Manager responsible for Payments, Payroll
and Staff Expenses within UK Finance.



Alcohol
Oxfam does not normally pay for alcoholic drinks.

However, when entertaining guests from outside Oxfam and where the entertainment is in the
furtherance of Oxfam’s business it is, within reasonable limits, possible to charge the cost of alcohol.
Staff should obtain approval from a member of their Senior Management Team before entertaining
guests from outside Oxfam if it is likely that they will incur expenditure on alcohol. This policy is a
matter of principle and not a matter of cost comparison with a soft drink. Oxfam‘s major donors do not



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recognise alcohol as a legitimate business expense and the cost of alcohol should not be charged to
donor funded projects.



Travelling
All staff and volunteers should consider the travel options available to them before deciding which
mode of transport to use when travelling on Oxfam business. Travel should be by a mode of transport
that takes account of safety, cost effectiveness and efficiency.



Public Transport
The cost of public transport will be reimbursed in full. Wherever possible, advantage should be taken
of early bookings to obtain cheaper train or plane seats.



Taxis
Taxis should not normally be used to travel on Oxfam business. However, there may be times when it
is safer, more practical or better value for Oxfam staff to use a taxi. e.g., when travelling late at night
or when a group of staff are sharing a taxi. This is especially so in some countries around the world
where taxis are either the norm or the best option.



Penalty Notices and Penalty Fares (for travel)
Oxfam will not reimburse the costs of penalty notices (e.g. parking tickets or speeding fines) or
penalty fares (e.g. fare dodging penalties) incurred on either public transport or whilst using a
company or private car on Oxfam business.



Passports
Oxfam will not reimburse the cost of the main passport. Where a second passport is required for
specific business reasons (e.g. to allow two visa applications concurrently) Oxfam will reimburse the
cost of the extra passport.



Tips and Gratuities
Where local custom dictates and where considered necessary Oxfam will reimburse tips and
gratuities up to a maximum of 15% of the cost of the service that the payment relates to, but without
thereby increasing the maximum reimbursable amounts.



Bribes
It is against Oxfam policy to pay “bribes”, “back handers” or similar payments.

However, in cases where refusal to make such payments could result in a physical or security risk
they may be unavoidable. When such payments have been necessary, they should be specifically
identified on the expenses claim form.




Expenses Policy January 2009                                                                             3
Receipts
Receipts or invoices should support all expenditure claims. Occasionally it is not possible to obtain a
receipt. Where this is the case the expenses claim must include sufficient detail of the expenses
incurred and the reason for not having receipts, which should be approved by the authorising
manager.

For staff and volunteers based outside the UK, in countries where difficulties in obtaining receipts
would be a frequent occurrence, the Regional Finance and Systems Manager may set an appropriate
maximum daily limit for expenses claims. Note that this is not a daily allowance (‘per diem’) – it is the
maximum amount that may be claimed, on the basis of actual expenses incurred by the staff member
or volunteer where receipts are not available. Where the country does not fall within an Oxfam region
the Head of Finance in International Division is responsible for setting this maximum daily claim limit.




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UK Specific Guidelines and Limits
These guidelines must be read in conjunction with the Expenses Policy and the general guidelines
associated with this policy. The limits and rates set out in these guidelines apply with effect from 1
February 2009 until further notice.



Scope & Application
       This policy applies to all Oxfam GB staff and volunteers, based in the UK or visiting the UK.

       This policy applies to costs relating to all UK based Oxfam GB staff and volunteers, whether
        incurred in the UK or elsewhere.

       This policy covers all costs relating to all UK based Oxfam GB staff and volunteers, whether
        invoiced or reclaimed by individuals.



Per Diems
It is against Oxfam’s policy to pay per diems for expenses incurred in the UK or to staff based in the
UK for expenses incurred anywhere in the world. Only actual expenditure will be reimbursed.



Cost of Meals
In the UK, Oxfam will reimburse the cost of a moderate meal when a member of staff is away on
business. This is payable up to maximum limits as follows:

•   Breakfast              £5 maximum

•   Lunch                  £6 maximum

•   Evening Meal           £15 maximum (if away from base after 9pm or overnight)

If an expense claim for meals covers more than one eligible person, (e.g. where 2 people have a meal
together and only one receipt is received) only the person who paid the expense should claim. The
claim should state how many people the receipt covers and who they were.

A volunteer working more than 5 hours per day is also entitled to claim the actual cost of meals taken
on the basis of receipts presented up to the maximum limits (as above).

Oxfam does not make reimbursement payments to paid staff for drinks, snacks and meals at their
normal place of work. Staff attending meetings involving people outside of Oxfam GB can claim
refreshments in line with the limits above. Staff attending all day meetings can claim up to the lunch
allowance provided the meeting is held away from the normal place of work.

Oxfam will not pay for lunch expenses incurred during internal shop meetings (including Interim
Reviews). However, if meetings are held away from the normal place of work, for example in a coffee
shop because of lack of space, then reasonable drinks will be reimbursed.

Free drinks and biscuits are provided to shop volunteers.




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Accommodation
When an overnight stay away from home is involved, accommodation expenses will be reimbursed up
to a maximum of £75 per night for bed and breakfast. It must be clear that this is a maximum
amount and in many situations adequate accommodation will be available locally for less. Where it is
not possible to find accommodation at this price and when approved in advance by the budget holder,
this maximum can be exceeded. The budget holder should initial the appropriate receipt and add a
remark on the online system to confirm that they approved this excess cost.

Whenever possible, bookings should be made in advance, through a local Oxfam office, at a
recommended hotel.

When hospitality is provided either by Oxfam staff or people from outside Oxfam, the person receiving
the hospitality can claim the following amounts, subject to a receipt from the hospitality provider being
attached to the expenses claim:

•   Bed & breakfast                       £15 per day

•   Bed & breakfast & supper              £20 per day

•   Full board (incl. lunch & supper)     £25 per day

It is acceptable for staff to buy a gift or a meal for their hosts while staying with friends when away
from home on Oxfam business providing that the claim is within the above limits.



Entertainment
When entertaining visitors or business contacts in the furtherance of Oxfam’s business, Oxfam will
reimburse the cost of this entertaining up to a maximum of £10 (excluding alcohol) per external visitor.
Reimbursement for alcohol is explained separately. Oxfam will not reimburse the cost of the staff
member’s personal entertainment nor internal visitors’ entertainment. Where practical, staff should
encourage the visitor or business contact to pay for the entertaining. It should normally be expected
that visitors and business contacts will be aware of Oxfam's need to be cost effective and often a
sandwich or light meal is just as effective a form of entertaining.



Attending Conferences – external and internal
The accommodation and meal rates, and principles regarding entertaining and alcohol detailed in this
policy cover all circumstances (except where specifically stated) including staff attending externally
and internally organised events such as conferences, seminars, courses and workshops. This applies
whether the expenditure is incurred via an expense claim or via an invoice direct to Oxfam from the
event organiser.

The normal range for a 24 hour delegate rate is £110 to £145.
The normal range for a 12 hour delegate rate is £35 to £50.



Travelling
All staff and volunteers should consider the travel options available to them before deciding which
mode of transport to use when travelling on Oxfam business. Travel should be by a mode of transport
that takes account of cost effectiveness, efficiency and safety. In the UK this is usually but not always
public transport (e.g. a bus from Oxford to Heathrow/Gatwick or a bus from Oxford train station to
Oxfam House).




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Public Transport
Wherever possible, advantage should be taken of early bookings to obtain cheaper train or plane
seats. In the UK, Oxfam has a preferred supplier agreement with Key Travel. When it is not possible
to use Key Travel, the Air Travel Procedure still needs to be followed and the expense claim for a
flight needs to be supported by the receipt or invoice as well as the ticket stub. In addition, all air
travel should be pre-authorised through the completion of an Air Travel Authority Form.

Flights within the UK will not be authorised. This is a matter of principle and exceptionally, in this
instance, the first consideration is not cost effectiveness. Alternative modes of transport should also
be considered for travel within Europe.

Volunteers can be reimbursed for the full cost of an Oyster card so long as it is a reasonable amount
compared with the cost of their journeys – including to and from work. Staff will be reimbursed the
proportion of business journeys and must keep a log of journeys travelled on business, either using
an Oyster card statement or using a spreadsheet to keep a tally.



Company Car Users
In the UK, company car users have been provided with an Oxfam car because they normally travel
over 12,500 business miles per year. Company car users will be reimbursed the cost of fuel used for
business miles. Petrol costs of private journeys, including home to work, will not be reimbursed. The
cost of wear and tear to Oxfam cars are met by Oxfam for business miles and the first 5,000 private
miles each year. All subsequent private miles travelled in a company car will be charged at 5p per
mile.

There are detailed rules governing the use and maintenance of company cars. These are given to the
driver when a company car is provided.



Using Your Own Car
In the UK when using your own car for Oxfam business you will be reimbursed at Oxfam mileage
rates based upon those set by the Inland Revenue. The rate depends upon whether you are an
“Essential Car User” or an “Occasional Car User”. Please Note - If you use your own car on Oxfam
business it is your responsibility to ensure that it is insured for business use.

Essential car users are staff who expect to travel 2,500 business miles or more in a tax year. They
are reimbursed mileage allowances that are based on the Inland Revenue rates as follows:

First 5,000 miles          40p per mile

Each Mile over 5,000       30p per mile

Each mile over 10,000 25p per mile



Occasional car users are staff who expect to travel less than 2,500 business miles per tax year.
Mileage is reimbursed at 30p per mile.

If during the tax year as an occasional user you have travelled more than 2,500 miles you are entitled
to make an additional claim for the difference between the higher and lower essential car user rates
for the first 2,500 miles you travelled.



Volunteers may claim a reimbursement for mileage travelled at the following rates:

•   Oxfam Business miles          as above



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•   Home to Work miles            30p per mile

Volunteers may claim public transport costs for travel between their home and Oxfam base.


Car Parking
Reasonable car park charges will be reimbursed in full when supported by a car park ticket, receipt or
evidence of payment . High car park charges for long stays at airports are not normally deemed
reasonable when public transport options are available. If deemed necessary to park at an airport,
the justification should be included on the expense claim form. Car parking at your normal place of
work will not be reimbursed except in special circumstances.



Taxis
Taxis should not normally be used to travel on Oxfam business in the UK. However, there may be
times when it is safer, more practical or better value for Oxfam staff to use a taxi. e.g., when travelling
late at night or when a group of staff are sharing a taxi.

Travelling by taxi to/from Oxford and an airport in the UK will not normally be reimbursed, nor will
travelling from the train station to Oxfam offices.

Expense claims for taxi fares should be supported by a receipt and an explanation of the reason for
use.



Interview Expenses
Oxfam will reimburse reasonable expenses to interviewees, both internal and external, who travel
some distance and who wish to make a claim, with prior approval of the recruiting manager. Re-
imbursement will be limited to:

•   Second class train fares or bus fares where this type of transport can be used. Receipts or tickets
    must be provided.

•   Mileage expenses when travelling by car will only be reimbursed when this proves to be a more
    cost-effective method of travel than public transport. In the UK such expenses will be paid on
    mileage travelled at 30p per mile.

•   Taxi fares will not be reimbursed. Flights within the UK will not be reimbursed.

•   Meals will not normally be reimbursed. However, where candidates are required either by travel
    circumstances or by the timing of the interview to attend a full day or overnight then the above
    meal rates apply. All costs need to be supported by receipts.

•   Where necessary, bed and breakfast overnight accommodation will normally be arranged and
    paid for by Oxfam.

•   For non-UK based applicants, only economy airfares will be reimbursed. The recruiting manager
    will decide in advance of any travel costs being incurred whether the post being recruited to
    justifies reimbursement of flight costs.

If a successful applicant unreasonably turns down an offer of employment, then Oxfam reserves the
right to request reimbursement of, or to withhold payment of interview expenses. Unreasonable in
this instance includes if the offer was not substantially different to the advertised role.




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Telephones
New telephone lines that are required in staff homes must be exclusively for business use. In the UK
such lines should be ordered and paid for through Information Services Department (Production) or
the Newcastle Finance Office so that they are included in Oxfam's corporate billing arrangements.

The cost of business calls made from an employee's home telephone will be reimbursed. All claims
for reimbursement of phone bills must have a fully itemized bill attached so the number phoned, call
duration and cost is visible.

Oxfam has a mobile phone policy that outlines the basis on which an Oxfam mobile phone will be
provided for business purposes. Oxfam settles the total bill for the phones within this policy direct to
the supplier. Staff are required to reimburse Oxfam for the cost of private calls made from their
mobile phone.

When making a phone call on Oxfam business staff should take account of cost effectiveness,
efficiency and safety, especially when deciding to make the call from a hotel, mobile or satellite phone
compared with a landline.

Business use of personal mobile phones is discouraged and where this is deemed to be necessary,
only the actual cost of calls made will be reimbursed. All business calls must be highlighted on the
itemised bill. Oxfam will not reimburse mobile top ups as it is impossible to separate business and
personal calls.

Staff should also be aware that to divert calls on Oxfam business from a landline to a mobile phone
will incur additional costs for Oxfam and is not cost effective.

While travelling on Oxfam business the following personal phone call costs, made by the most cost
effective, efficient and safe method will be reimbursed. If additional call time is required due for
example to urgent private business, this should be at the agreement of the line manager.

Trips of less than 3 days - 1 call of less than 3 minutes

Trips of more than 3 days – 15 minutes of call time per week



Use of Home as an Office
Staff who are obliged to work at home as part of their normal job may receive a payment up to a
maximum of £6 per week towards costs of heating, lighting and other expenses. The level of
payment is dependent upon the amount of home working and must be agreed with an employee's line
manager, and Human Resources. The payment of this allowance is dealt with by Human Resources,
and added to monthly salary. Staff who choose to work from home but are not required to do so are
not eligible for this payment.



Professional Fees
Where membership of a professional association is regarded as an essential requirement and
included in the job profile for a particular post, the staff member may claim reimbursement of the
appropriate fees. For posts where membership of a non-professional association is regarded as
being desirable, specified staff may claim a partial reimbursement of fees.



Eye Tests
Staff classified as a user or operator of VDU equipment may be reimbursed the cost of an eyesight
test and spectacles if they meet the appropriate criteria.




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Childcare Costs
Where suitable alternative arrangements cannot be made for childcare without incurring additional
costs whilst attending a course or meeting, or if the request to travel is unplanned and unforeseen (i.e.
within 48 hours) as part of an humanitarian response to an emergency, Oxfam will reimburse
reasonable ‘additional’ expenses (with prior agreement from the staff member’s line manager), i.e.
over and above normal costs of childcare. This payment is a taxable payment and therefore tax will be
deducted from the sum paid.



Gifts to Volunteers (UK)
Gifts to volunteers that are paid for by their manager or delegated representative will be reimbursed
either via the expenses claim system or via petty cash (when below £30).

Oxfam will reimburse such gifts to volunteers where the cost is limited to:

     Flowers – where the flowers cost less than £10 for each occasion (e.g. each period of illness).

     Parties – where the annual cost of parties (including Christmas lunches) is less than £10 per
      volunteer. Gifts in lieu of a Christmas meal will not be reimbursed because of tax implications.
      Staff cannot claim for themselves and the claim must state how many volunteers attended.

     Long service gifts/awards – where the value of the gift/award does not exceed £40 in total for
      volunteers with a minimum of 2 years of service and is not a cash payment.

The claim must clearly state the name of the volunteer and the reason for the gift. The Inland
Revenue (UK) has confirmed that no tax charge will apply to the above gifts to volunteers.



Gifts to Staff
Oxfam will not reimburse any gifts to staff.



Miscellaneous Expenses
Occasionally other expenses may be incurred whilst working on Oxfam business. Costs may be
reimbursed if supported by receipts and may include items like postage or stationery. Line Managers
should specifically approve on a line-by-line basis all claims for such miscellaneous reimbursements.
Where there is any doubt about whether an expense will be reimbursed staff should obtain advice
from their Senior Finance Team before incurring the expenditure.




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