Section 18: Subsistence allowances

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18.1 Where locally, staff and employer representatives agree arrangements which are more appropriate to local operational circumstances or which provide benefits to staff beyond those provided by this section, or are agreed as operationally preferable, those local arrangements will apply.

18.2 The purpose of this section is to reimburse staff for the necessary extra costs of meals, accommodation and travel arising as a result of official duties away from home. Business expenses which may arise, such as the cost of a fax or official telephone calls, may be reimbursed with certificated proof of expenditure.

Night subsistence

Short overnight stays in hotels, guesthouses and commercial accommodation

18.3 When an employee stays overnight in a hotel, guesthouse, or other commercial accommodation with the agreement of the employer, the overnight costs will be reimbursed as follows:

  • the actual, receipted cost of bed and breakfast, up to the normal maximum limit set out in Annex 14; plus
  • a meals allowance, to cover the cost of a main evening meal and one other day-time meal, at the rate set out in Annex 14.
18.4 Where the maximum limit is exceeded for genuine business reasons (e.g. the choice of hotel was not within the employee's control or cheaper hotels were fully booked) additional assistance may be granted at the discretion of the employer.

Short overnight stays in non-commercial accommodation

18.5 Where an employee stays for short overnight periods with friends or relatives or in a caravan or other non-commercial accommodation, the flat rate sum set out in paragraph 3 of Annex 14 is payable. This includes an allowance for meals. No receipts will be required.


18.6 Employees staying in accommodation provided by the employer or host organisation shall be entitled to an allowance to cover meals which are not provided free of charge, up to the total set out in paragraph 2 of Annex 14.

18.7 Where accommodation and meals are provided without charge to employees, e.g. on residential training courses, an incidental expenses allowance at the rate set out in paragraph 6 of Annex 14 will be payable. All payments of this allowance are subject to the deductions of appropriate tax and National Insurance contributions via the payroll system.

Travelling overnight in a sleeping berth (rail or boat)

18.8 The cost of a sleeping berth (rail or boat) and meals, excluding alcoholic drinks, will be reimbursed subject to the production of vouchers.

Short-term temporary absence travel costs.

18.9 Travel costs between the hotel and temporary place of work will be separately reimbursed on an actual cost basis.

Long-term overnight stays

18.10 After the first 30 nights’ stay in the same location the entitlement to night subsistence shall be reduced to the maximum rates set out in paragraph 4 of Annex 14. Meals allowances are not payable to these employees. Those who continue to stay in non-commercial accommodation will continue to be entitled to the rate set out in paragraph 3 of Annex 14.

Day subsistence

18.11 A meal allowance is payable when an employee is necessarily absent from home on official business and more than five miles from their base, by the shortest practicable route, on official business. Day meals allowance rates are set out in paragraph 5 of Annex 14. These allowances are not paid where meals are provided free at the temporary place of work.


18.12 A day meals allowance is payable only when an employee necessarily spends more on a meal/meals than would have been spent at their place of work. An employee shall certify accordingly, on each occasion for which day meals allowance is claimed but a receipt is not required.

18.13 Normally, an employee claiming a lunch meal allowance would be expected to be away from his/her base for a period of more than five hours and covering the normal lunch time period of 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. To claim an evening meals allowance an employee would normally be expected to be away from base for more than ten hours and unable to return to base or home before 7:00 pm and as a result of the late return is required to have an evening meal. Employees may qualify for both lunch and evening meal allowance in some circumstances. There will be occasions where, due to the time of departure, there will be the necessity to take a meal but the conditions relating to the time absent from the base are not met. This, and any other exceptions to the rules, may be allowed at the discretion of the employer.

18.14 The scope and level of any other payments will be determined by the employer, according to local needs, on a vouched basis.

Late night duties allowance

18.15 An employee who is required to work late at night, in addition to a day duty, may be paid an evening meal allowance at the rate set out in paragraph 7 of Annex 14. It will be for the employer to determine who will be entitled and in what circumstances.


18.16 Late night duties allowance will be subject to deduction of appropriate tax and National Insurance contributions, via the payroll system.

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