Cost of Doing Business

“A few of my employees have to drive to client sites as part of their job. One employee consistently receives parking violations because he doesn’t want to walk an extra block but then forgets to put money in the meter. Can I make him pay for those parking tickets?”

Your HR Survival Tip

What do these parking tickets, lost company keys, company laptops stolen from an employee’s vehicle, and business use of an employee’s cell phone have in common? They are expenses and your company’s cost of doing business.

Both California and the IRS (Federal Internal Revenue Service) are firm on the fact that it should not cost your employees anything to work for you or to keep their job. When you charge $5 to replace an employee’s lost key or make them pay for their parking or traffic tickets, it’s costing them to work for you. As you know, the courts already decided you need to reimburse employees for the business use of their personal cell phone… even if they are on an unlimited plan so it doesn’t actually cost them anything.

All these things fall under the category of the “cost of doing business.” There is nothing you can have them sign that will take that burden away from you. People lose things, break things, and have things stolen from vehicles. None of us are perfect so why do you expect employees to be better or different with company property than they are with their own property? You can’t.

So what can you do when employees show no respect in their handling of company property or care if they are costing the company money? You bring it back home to them in another way. You write them up for failing to follow company policy of keeping company property out of sight and locked into the vehicle; for loss of company property; for failing to follow traffic rules; for failing to park somewhere that won’t result in a ticket; etc. The write-up is a notice that you don’t condone the behavior and rarely is it immediately followed by a termination of their employment.

Remember their behaviors when doing performance reviews. When considering raises, ask why you would increase this employee’s pay when they are costing you money? If the behavior continues long enough, you might lower their wage or eventually terminate their employment. However, do keep documenting so your reasons are clear and to ensure the employee has plenty of advance notice of these possible outcomes.

People aren’t perfect so don’t ask more of your employees than you could do yourself. When you see these things, determine if you could create a clearer policy or explanation that might help. Most of all, be sure you are applying the same standards to every employee so discrimination doesn’t become another issue. Employers pay for many things to be in business and employee expenses are just one of those items.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.