Christmas party time

December 2, 2015

Most importantly make sure you discipline those who misbehave.  Here’s some food for thought:

It’s estimated that 20% of workers will call in sick the day after the Xmas party, costing the economy £259m.  Question – How do you stop people ‘bunking off’ work due to overindulging the night before?
Make sure there is plenty of food and soft drinks available; allow people to book annual leave in advance and ensure your disciplinary policy is clear about failure to attend work due to alcohol consumption…. if possible, book your party for a Friday!

Do you have a ‘duty of care’ to ensure that staff can get home from a Christmas party without drinking and driving?
Yes. This might involve stopping the party before public transport ends or handing out numbers of reputable taxis in advance and encouraging staff to use them.

If an employee suffers verbal abuse for example about their ethnicity, before the party in the pub, who’s responsibility is it?
It’s yours as it is classed as an extension of work. You must therefore have a policy on bullying and harassment and discrimination.

Cost of Parties and Presents
What can I give my staff/customers as a Xmas present?  The taxman will allow you to give a business gift worth up to £10 to any one person in any one year.  The rules are:

  • The gift has to be given freely
  • It has to be a business gift. It cannot be food or drink. It can’t be vouchers that could be exchanged for food and drink. So Marks & Spencer vouchers are out as well
  • It also has to carry an advertisement for your business
  • Be careful about gifts that cost more than £10. In this case the taxman will disallow the whole amount, not just the amount over £10! The VAT man has similar rules but he will allow you to claim back the VAT on business gifts of up to £15

How much can we spend on the Christmas party?
The taxman will allow you to spend up to £150 per employee on a Christmas party. In fact it can be any 2 functions during the year.

If your employees’ husbands or wives go to the party as well, that is also okay for income tax purposes. But the VAT Man will count it as entertainment and will not allow you to claim the VAT. You will have to split the bill according to how many people are employees and how many are guests.

Don’t worry. If you take all these factors into account you may even enjoy the party yourselves!!!

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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