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    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 7th Aug 18, 11:11 AM
    • 175Posts
    • 77Thanks
    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I be compensated for buying work items in my own time?
    • #1
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:11 AM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I be compensated for buying work items in my own time? 7th Aug 18 at 11:11 AM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    I regularly use my cash to buy items I need for work, then claim it back. My employer doesn't reimburse me for the time or travel, only the item's cost. Yet I often do it in my own time, and I pay petrol and car running costs to get them.

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

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Page 1
    • fibonarchie
    • By fibonarchie 7th Aug 18, 11:14 AM
    • 904 Posts
    • 1,568 Thanks
    • #2
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:14 AM
    • #2
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:14 AM
    I think it would get too complicated if you started charging for your time. If you had to travel a long way to get whatever item it was, then maybe yes, ask them to refund the travel cost.
    Signature Removed by Forum Team ..thanks to somebody reporting a witty and decades-old Kenny Everett quote as 'offensive'!!
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 7th Aug 18, 11:16 AM
    • 6,978 Posts
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    • #3
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:16 AM
    • #3
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:16 AM
    Just refuse and make your employer source your tools?
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 7th Aug 18, 12:29 PM
    • 1,385 Posts
    • 1,702 Thanks
    • #4
    • 7th Aug 18, 12:29 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Aug 18, 12:29 PM
    Do it in work time instead?
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 7th Aug 18, 1:48 PM
    • 39,487 Posts
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    • #5
    • 7th Aug 18, 1:48 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Aug 18, 1:48 PM
    If I had to make a special journey to get something very particular that couldn't be sourced online then my employer MIGHT re-imburse me. But generally I find myself passing a shop sells something I need, so I pop in and buy it in my own time.

    Heck, I've even sent DH to buy stuff in HIS own time. And yesterday he made a detour to work to deliver something I'd bought over the weekend which was too heavy to carry in on the train.

    If I wasn't happy about the situation, I'd stop doing it.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
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    • phillw
    • By phillw 7th Aug 18, 11:25 PM
    • 1,567 Posts
    • 1,266 Thanks
    • #6
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:25 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:25 PM
    If I had to make a special journey to get something very particular that couldn't be sourced online then my employer MIGHT re-imburse me. But generally I find myself passing a shop sells something I need, so I pop in and buy it in my own time.
    Originally posted by Savvy_Sue
    It doesn't sound like it's very much of your time. So I wouldn't expect to be paid, unless the employer does things like docking your wages if you take a personal call during work time or timing your toilet breaks.
    • NCC-1701
    • By NCC-1701 8th Aug 18, 12:29 AM
    • 298 Posts
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    • #7
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:29 AM
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:29 AM
    Marriage, Relationships & Families??? Not seeing it.
    • kazt2006
    • By kazt2006 8th Aug 18, 6:28 AM
    • 43 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    • #8
    • 8th Aug 18, 6:28 AM
    • #8
    • 8th Aug 18, 6:28 AM
    Initially I would have said no as when you buy items yourself you are usually bypassing the financial procedures in place within the organisation.

    Having said that, I was arranging something for my boss last year that required a visit to one of the local large supermarkets and I live over 7 miles from this branch. It was also Saturday. I knew I couldn!!!8217;t claim for my time but I put a mileage claim which he agreed was reasonable.

    I!!!8217;m guessing you are perhaps a teacher or similar if you are constantly buying !!!8220;urgent!!!8221; things! On this, I would say better planning and all that!!!!
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 8th Aug 18, 6:48 AM
    • 748 Posts
    • 633 Thanks
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 18, 6:48 AM
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 18, 6:48 AM
    You don't say what your work is or what items you are constantly buying in order to be able to do your job.

    Why isn't your employer supplying what you need? I'd ask for that to be done if you aren't happy buying stuff in your own time.

    When you get a payrise, assuming you do and your annual talk with your boss comes along, do they recognise how much of your own time you are spending in getting items for your job and that you're not paid for your time when doing this, so are you given a higher payrise because of what you are doing?

    If not, why not.

    If you're not being paid for your time or travelling expenses to get items then you should be given a higher payrise to compensate.

    How much time are you spending?

    Does it mean you don't get time to do what you want to do or seeing friends and relatives suffers?

    It's your choice at the end of the day, if you're not happy with the situation, look for another job.
    • Ian181676
    • By Ian181676 8th Aug 18, 7:56 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    If you're making a special journey to buy things, it's clearly business mileage, so your employer ought to reimburse the cost if they expect you to go and buy the items.

    If you employer won't reimburse you when asked I'd stop making the journeys and buying the items. If you choose to continue making the journeys at your own expense you should at least claim tax relief on the cost of making them.
    • markandkate
    • By markandkate 8th Aug 18, 8:33 AM
    • 840 Posts
    • 435 Thanks
    Other perks
    Do,you hand over the nectar points or points from your credit card to your employer? I think it's a quid pro quo you get the reward points and possibly time out of the office to go and buy the items, you may well do some of your own shopping at the same time
    • jmclusky
    • By jmclusky 8th Aug 18, 9:06 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 20 Thanks
    As Ian181676 said, you should be getting reimbursed for business miles. However you should also make sure that you have business insurance as otherwise if you are involved in an accident then your insurance may not be valid!
    • hb2
    • By hb2 8th Aug 18, 10:02 AM
    • 206 Posts
    • 405 Thanks
    I think this partly depends on how the employee is treated in general.

    My work used to provide tea/coffee and biscuits (sometimes cake), allow some calls in/out during work time and not clock watch if I wanted to leave 10 minutes early (although it was more common for me to miss half of my lunchbreak and leave 10 minutes late!). Reps used to provide things like pens and sticky pads and we were allowed to take a reasonable amount of personal use.

    I was being treated well so was happy to pick up things for work when I was doing my own shopping and didn't always/often ask for reimbursement if the cost was minimal.

    My attitude would have been different if I had to provide my own tea/coffee/biscuits; if toilet breaks were timed; if my employer insisted I stayed until the last minute, even though I was always in 30 minutes early etc

    As usual, this depends so much on the nuances, which we will never hear as this is one of the 'dilemmas' posted by MSE, rather than by a real member of the forum!
    • lizbec
    • By lizbec 8th Aug 18, 4:12 PM
    • 34 Posts
    • 35 Thanks
    I used to clean and manage a couple of holiday cottages. The owner lived in London. I often had to buy various supplies and would always add travel costs when I invoiced her. However, that was a private arrangement, not sure how you'd go about it if it's more "normal" employment. I think I'd be inclined to try and do it during working hours if that's possible
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 8th Aug 18, 4:32 PM
    • 2,936 Posts
    • 7,193 Thanks
    ska lover
    online shopping during work hours
    The opposite of what you also true
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 9th Aug 18, 9:48 AM
    • 11,341 Posts
    • 15,074 Thanks
    Was also going to suggest online shopping. There's really not much you can't order online these days - often with next day delivery.

    White lie won't hurt in this case. 'My car sounded dodgy on the way in, I don't want to risk it' or 'can't go tonight as out doing something'. There's nothing they can make you do in your own time, just say you have plans and you'll order it online for next day delivery instead.
    2019 wins: Still waiting...
    • crmism
    • By crmism 10th Aug 18, 9:50 PM
    • 139 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Work tools
    Without having some better idea what your job is, and what items you need to buy to perform it, the chances of your getting the answer you want is like measuring a piece of string; so much depends on the kind of employment and most importantly the terms of your employment contract.

    Might I suggest you resubmit your question in a little more detail?
    • ptrichardson
    • By ptrichardson 12th Aug 18, 5:16 PM
    • 223 Posts
    • 74 Thanks
    If you're doing it for work, and you've been asked to do so, you shouldn't be expected to use your own time.

    Either do it in work hours, or agree to take the time back at a time that's suitable for the business. For example, every Friday afternoon.

    As for the travel costs, you could get mileage, but as someone else pointed out, you'd need to add the option on your insurance, so possibly not worth it.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 12th Aug 18, 5:32 PM
    • 38,621 Posts
    • 161,628 Thanks
    online shopping during work hours
    Originally posted by ska lover
    ^^^ This. Or say you will leave 10 minutes early and pop to the shops on your way home.
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