However, the lines can become slightly more blurred if your customers and suppliers ply your employees with gifts too…
Depending on your sector, you may well be regulated and already have policies regarding the declaration of any gifts that have been given, but if not, what should your position be on this?
As with most things, there isn’t a simple answer… Ideally, you should look at putting in place a policy so that all employees are made aware as to how they should deal with gifts – the last thing you need at Christmas is a bribery/corruption claim!
You could have a blanket policy stating that gifts are not to be accepted for doing the job that staff are paid to do, but invariably, that won’t always go down well. Some customers want to show their gratitude towards staff, and it can put your employees in an awkward situation if they have to refuse to accept a token box of chocolates!
A better approach could be to allow gifts of up to a certain value, with anything over that level needing to be signed off by senior management. This not only allows customers to show their appreciation, but maintains fairness throughout the business, and should reduce any issues with bribery that gift giving can bring.
There aren’t many people who wouldn’t want to receive a little gift from their employer now and again; but did you know that you might have to pay tax and National Insurance on them?
This will be the case if the gift is a cash bonus, or considered not to be trivial, meaning it doesn’t come under the following:
– costs less than £50 provide
– isn’t cash or a cash voucher
– isn’t a reward for their work or performance
– isn’t in the terms of their contract
Most Christmas gifts would be classed as trivial and therefore not taxable, unless of course you’re really treating your employees(!) so you might have to find another reason not to partake in a bit of festive gift giving!
What happens when the gift giving by colleagues becomes a problem? Can discrimination come into play? Do all employees have to participate? What if employees don’t celebrate Christmas?
Colleague gift giving can cause many problems, but one way that many companies try to reduce this is by offering a Secret Santa to those that want to participate. It wouldn’t be employment law without some rules though, so it might be worth reminding employees that the gifts have to be work appropriate and possibly stating that they cannot be over a certain value.
Clearly there is no one size fits approach when it comes to gifts around the festive period, so if you would like any advice on how best to approach it, or would like us to review any bribery/gift giving policies, please get in touch with a member of the team on 01752 663295.