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One in five Aussies never reimbursed for work expenses

By Shannon Williams
Thu 23 Jun 2022

A new survey has exposed Australian employee job dissatisfaction, with many being left out of pocket for work expenses. 

A staggering 46% of Aussie employees are being left out of pocket when it comes to work-related expenses, according to new research from Australian digital expense platform, DiviPay.

Published as Australia’s cost of living skyrockets, perhaps even more shocking is that one in five employees never get these expenses back.
 
In an effort to better understand the frustrations employees are experiencing when it comes to claiming back the money owed to them by their workplace, the survey asked 1,000 Aussies how they approach work expenses. It uncovered some alarming truths that many employees across Australia are facing.
 
With people experiencing the financial pinch in an environment of high inflation, hybrid work and increasing interest rates, workers are trying to stretch their dollars as far as possible. Despite this, over six in ten (64%) employees aged 45 years and over are left completely out of pocket when it comes to work-related spending. One in five employees (20%) aren’t claiming back work-related expenses at all, with this creeping up to a quarter (25%) of all female employees. 

Job satisfaction at risk 
 
The pandemic has only accelerated the problem, with the line between work and home expenses blurring. This has left many employees confused and frustrated as to what is and isn’t considered a corporate expense. When employees were asked why they haven’t expensed an out-of-pocket purchase for a work item, the top reasons included:

  • They find it too much hassle 
  • They aren’t sure if their employer allowed spending on those expenses  
  • They find the system too complicated 
  • They’ve lost the receipt or proof of purchases 

As the ‘war for talent’ plagues the workforce, holistic employee wellbeing has never been more important. Yet, the challenges faced around work reimbursements are leading to increased job dissatisfaction. Half of employees (47%) who have paid out of pocket for work-related expenses admit to feeling anxious or worried about getting their money back and just over a third (36%) saying they feel dissatisfied with their employer about reimbursements.
 
“2022 has been dubbed the ‘great job boom’ with Australia’s job market in the middle of a huge shake-up," says Daniel Kniaz, founder and CEO at DiviPay.

"There are currently more jobs being advertised than ever before with many Aussies re-evaluating their careers, current workplaces and future prospects. 

"For business leaders, having a strong Employee Value Proposition has become essential to attract and retain workers," he says. 

"Ensuring employees aren’t out of pocket, or worse, are never reimbursed, should not be overlooked. We’re not talking about just money here, but how employees feel about their company and their role in the organisation.”
 
Russell Martin, co-founder and CTO at DiviPay, adds: “I’ve met with many CEOs and CFOs in my time and there’s definitely a disconnect when it comes to the importance of a streamlined expense management process. 

"Employee wellbeing and job satisfaction have catapulted up the priority list with many companies offering a myriad of perks to bolster culture, engagement, trust and productivity - yet somehow work reimbursements seem to slip the net," he says.
 
“Our research has shown that employees are experiencing high levels of anxiety when claiming back work expenses but this is something that is easily fixable," Martin says. 

"Having a robust, easy-to-use platform for corporate claims may seem like a small initiative but it can make all the difference to an employee's job satisfaction and will be crucial for employee retention.”
 

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