A man was allowed to claim expenses on meals. But when he turned in his report, it was rejected because of a measly $1.50!
‘Tis the Season
OP (Original Poster) worked at an office where they would have eight weeks of “mandatory overtime” during the busiest part of the year. He and his coworkers would have to put in between 12 and 14 hours daily.
Mighty Kind of Them
During that busy time, the company would reimburse staff for dinner. They offered to pay up to $13 per meal, and all you had to do to get the money was submit an expense report at the end of the busy season.
A Working Wasteland
Unfortunately for OP, there weren’t many places around where he worked that sold food. Since he had few options, he would bring food from home.
Toil and Trouble
However, as expected, there were times when OP was too tired to make food, so he would purchase meals. In the course of the eight weeks, he had purchased 10 meals.
OP said that three of his meals ended up costing $13.50. When he submitted his report, this put him $1.50 over, but his manager signed off on it and told him it shouldn’t be a problem.
A few days after he sent his expense report, someone from the head office emailed OP. He was $1.50 over the allowed amount, and if he removed the extra, he could resubmit his expenses.
Wait a Second!
OP responded to the email, saying that his manager had approved the extra and that he had even signed off on it. But the head office didn’t care and said he had to remove the $1.50 and that they did not allow overages “under any circumstances.”
They stated that the $1.50 “must be removed, or they wouldn’t approve any of his meal expenses.”
A Piece of Advice
They then ended the email with a little bit of advice for OP. They wrote that he should “actually read the company policy next time.”
Turnabout and Fair Play
OP admitted he was wrong and that he had put down more than what the company allowed.
This did make OP think about the policy, though, and he started reading it carefully before he put in his expense claim again.
Hang On, What?
OP confirmed that, yes, the maximum for purchased meals was $13 per meal. But at the same time, what OP discovered after that was even better: the company offered a $10 per diem for meals brought from home!
A Slight Correction
Now that OP had the information he needed, he removed the $1.50. OP then added $300 to his expense claim because he had made 30 meals during the busy period.
In Plain Sight
OP said that he got his money, and he made sure to share this secret information with his coworkers once he found out that no one in his department had heard of it either. The policy had never been mentioned to OP, and he would make sure no one else would miss out.
He explained, “When we were emailed the meal policy at the beginning of the busy season, there was no mention of the per diem.”
OP decided then and there that he would have to read company policies more carefully. He’s thankful to the person from the head office who told him about the policy but isn’t so sure it was actually done to help him out.
He wrote, “Many are suggesting the person was sincerely trying to help me out, but I’m not 100% sure because they were so snippy in their email. Either way, I made sure to thank them just in case they were sincere, and I was just too jaded to see it!”
What the Community Thinks
Redditors were delighted at the story, with many pointing out how often companies try to control and dictate to their employees.
One Redditor summed up the general mood of the board by saying, “I do the employee reimbursement at my company, and I would be gleeful if someone came back with this. In my experience, if I have to make someone edit their report, it’s because I literally cannot process the report through the system, or I will personally get in trouble for pushing something through. Good on you for using your resources.”
Another backed up the first Redditor by saying, “I also do expense reimbursements. We want employees to get as much money as possible, but it has to be within policy. Anything outside of that, and we get written up if it’s caught in an audit and can lose our jobs.”
Thanks for the Guidance
Some Redditors thought the email may have been on purpose so he would explore and discover the policy. Still, OP wasn’t sure because of how irritable the email had been.
One of the Redditors involved in the discussion said, “If it was me, and I hope if it was you, and I spotted that OP wasn’t charging for his other meals at all when actually they could, I might well say ‘read the policy you idiot’ to give them a chance to realize. I’d probably get in trouble if I told him about it directly, but giving a hint like that, I could get away with it.”
What do you think about OP? Did he teach his company a lesson, and what would you have done differently?
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This post first appeared as His Penny-Pinching Company Refused to Pay His Office-Provided Meal Reimbursement Because of a $1.50 Overage and Told Him to “Actually Read the Policy.” He Complied and Got Paid $300 More Instead! on Quote Ambition.