Talk:Expense procedures

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Background[edit source]

The Expenses Procedures were previously embedded within the WMUK's Finance Policy, but will in future be treated as a separate document.

The procedures are left substantially unchanged, except for point 5 of the Per Diem section which gives the CEO authority to revise the per diem rates to keep them current. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:09, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Community comments[edit source]

Highlighting changes[edit source]

Please could all changes be marked up? There currently seem to be removals of sentences that aren't highlighted at all here - see [1]. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:19, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

CE being able to change per diem rates[edit source]

I think this clause needs some re-thinking. Some questions to think about:

  1. If the CE can change the amounts, then why are the amounts specified in this policy page? Shouldn't they be split off onto another page to avoid a policy page being changed without the board's approval?
  2. Isn't there a COI with the CE being able to change the rates and also claim per diems? Shouldn't at least the treasurer be involved in the decision to adjust these rates?
  3. Why would the CE need to change the rates? I guess this might be due to inflation/rising cost of living; if so, wouldn't it make sense to restrict changes to just being related to those, rather than allowing them to be changed arbitrarily?

Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:30, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes, it might be worth including language to the effect that the Chief Exec can make cost-of-living adjustments (which I think is the intent), rather than giving them more discretion. The Land (talk) 19:33, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Delegating it to the CEO was to simplify matters and reduce board time spent on it. This includes the treasurer who is not an infinite resource. There is of course a potential COI for anyone who receives a Per Diem - we just have to be sensible. If I did something unreasonable then that would be picked up. Tieing it down to anything seems a bit too detailed to me and would end up with strange amounts. e.g. £26.27. I do not anticipate any dranatic changes at all FYI. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:50, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
To give my view on Mike's questions:
If the CE can change the amounts, then why are the amounts specified in this policy page? Shouldn't they be split off onto another page to avoid a policy page being changed without the board's approval?
They're on here so that the amounts are publicly viewable by volunteers/members/etc. They would remain on this page because this page isn't intended to be a policy page - hence the name changes to 'procedures'. The feeling I got from the ARC (which may not be their view) was that a lot of our policies are overly prescriptive and detailed - instead, policies should be broad and overarching, and should not include detailed descriptions of routine processes, timelines, forms and templates which may be subject to frequent modification in procedures.
Isn't there a COI with the CE being able to change the rates and also claim per diems? Shouldn't at least the treasurer be involved in the decision to adjust these rates? Why would the CE need to change the rates? I guess this might be due to inflation/rising cost of living; if so, wouldn't it make sense to restrict changes to just being related to those, rather than allowing them to be changed arbitrarily?
It may seem that way, but I don't think that it's the case any more than the Treasurer having a conflict of interest for per diems. Certainly our current treasurer does not have the time to review per diem rates. It might be worth keeping specifying that this should be for COL changes only, but I will leave it to ARC to discuss that. In any case, the CE's expenses are also approved by the board as they're paid through the banking process - any review can happen at that stage.
Hope this helps. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 17:40, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Thank you to whoever made the tweaks to the page to answer my third question. :-) I hope it's OK that I've made a few minor tweaks to the language (the most controversial being changing "will" to "may" so that it isn't compulsory on the CE to make a change each year). Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:49, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Per diems and minimum wage[edit source]

[Extracted from the above] (BTW, why was the minimum wage point removed from this section?) Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:30, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Re the Minimum wage point, nobody on the ARC could remember why it was there. Can you? Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:50, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I would imagine it was to avoid a situation in which we paid someone such that the expenses we were covering left them in deficit and thus took them below the level of the minimum wage. I've no idea what the legal situation is in such cases but it would certainly be undesirable. I'm not sure we need to explicitly say it though Sjgknight (talk) 12:06, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
It's there because there was a risk that some volunteers could be claiming per diems so often (e.g. every day for 2 weeks if they were being particularly active) that the per diem could essentially be viewed as their wage, which would then be less than the minimum wage and hence illegal. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 12:27, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
This is all to do with a simple way of handling the reimbursement of expenses, isn't it? It's nothing to do with payment of wages or payment for services rendered. So I can't see that the minimum wage point has anything to do with this. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 12:33, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
My recollection is that the ARC (or Greyham) saw the inclusion of the note as superfluous, as the Chief Executive has an obligation to ensure that we follow minimum wage regulations in any case. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 13:25, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification Richard, that sounds right to me. Michael - the situation in which this would be an issue is where someone we are paying incurs expenses in the course of their duties which cannot be fully recouped, thus leaving them with a shortfall (and for low paid/large expenses, taking them below the minimum wage), this seems unlikely and as Richard says is covered elsewhere. Mike, we cannot equate reimbursement of reasonable expenses (not taxable) with a de facto wage (taxable), it would put both us and our volunteers in difficulties and it just isn't why we pay expenses. The other reading (re: people we actually employ) does broadly makes sense, although as per Richard above should be covered by other legislation so I think removing the relevant text shouldn't be an issue. Sjgknight (talk) 13:48, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
It probably is superfluous; I think it was put in there mainly as a reminder of the issue as it is something that could crop up with very active volunteers, and to avoid the risk of it being used as a pseudo-wage. Anyway, it wasn't the main point I wanted to make here... Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:13, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes. Basically it was there as one easy path to "accidentally" breaking the NMW is to have people "volunteering" for "expenses" for so long and in such a way that they are in fact employees. But as the NMW is a statutory requirement, and there is a general requirement that the Chief Exec acts within the law at all times, what the policy says is not of the highest importance. The Land (talk) 19:37, 5 February 2014 (UTC)