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Last revision: 22/11/2023
Available formats: Word and PDF
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An Employee Reimbursement Policy is a document established by the employer that sets forth the rules, practices, and procedures for reimbursing employees for expenses incurred during the course of their work.
In an Employee Reimbursement Policy, the employer informs employees about the types of expenses that can be reimbursed, the documentation required, and the procedure for claiming reimbursement. This may cover various expense categories such as travel, meals, office supplies, training, and professional memberships, amongst others.
Like many other employment policies, an Employee Reimbursement Policy does not need to be approved by employees. These policies are established by the employer as a reference point outlining standard procedures and guidelines. However, some employers choose to get their employees to sign their policies, as a way to ensure that employees have been made aware of the policies.
Employee Reimbursement Policies are not typically contractually binding on employees. They serve to clarify the employer's general rules and procedures, and expectations of employees concerning work-related expenses. If the employer does not adhere to a particular policy, the employee may not be able to claim that the employer has breached its contractual obligations. However, this also means that specific matters of importance that should be legally binding on the employee should be addressed in a legally binding document, such as an Employment Agreement.
In addition to an Employee Reimbursement Policy, employers often have other documents addressing various employment-related matters. These documents can work in conjunction with the Employee Reimbursement Policy.
How to use this document
This document should be used by an employer that wants to establish clear rules for reimbursing employee work-related expenses.
The employer can enter their relevant details at the start of the document and select various options throughout the document to adapt it to their particular circumstances.
The employer should ensure that the document accurately reflects their actual approach to these matters.
Once the document has been completed, it can be made available to employees. It may be provided to new employees when they first start working with the employer. For existing employees, it may be distributed, together with a message to notify them that this document outlines the employer's updated approach to employee reimbursement.
The importance of communicating the details of this Policy to employees and ensuring they understand what is expected of them cannot be overstated. An easy way to do this is by sending a Letter to employees About New or Updated Workplace Policies.
Some employers choose to have employees sign a copy of the document, to confirm that they have read and understood it. Signed copies may be kept on file by the employer. This document has an option to include space for the employee to sign it.
Some employers also choose to reference this Policy within their Employment Agreement.
Employee Reimbursement Policies may be affected by various Australian laws.
For example, tax implications of certain reimbursements may be affected by the Australian Taxation Office guidelines and Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Commonwealth).
Additionally, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Commonwealth) provides general protections for employees, which could be relevant in the event of disputes arising from the reimbursement process.
Ordinary principles of contract law, as provided by the common law, may also apply to the general terms of the employee's employment. If in doubt, seek legal advice.
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