Released on: August 25, 2011, 12:21 pm
The Government may take the UK further out of line with virtually all major European countries by removing tax allowances to employers that can encourage workers to eat a proper lunch.
Employers can currently claim 15p (0.18 Euros) on luncheon vouchers they provide to
staff. In Germany employers receive €3.10 per employee per day: the French
Government allows € 5.21 Euros; in Italy the allowance is €5.29; in Switzerland€5.80; in Belgium it is €5.91 Euros and in Spain the allowance is a remarkable €9.00
per employee per day.
Country and Euro per day allowance
Austria = 4.40
Belgium = 5.91
Bulgaria = 1.46
Czech Republic = 2.00
France = 5.21
Germany = 3.10
Greece = 6.00
Hungary = 2.60
Italy = 5.29
Luxembourg = 5.60
Poland = 2.37
Portugal = 7.26
Romania = 2.00
Slovakia = 2.70
Spain = 9.00
Switzerland = 5.80
Turkey = 5.39
United Kingdom = 0.18
Following a Budget announcement by the Government in the Spring, there is at present a consultation period before UK tax relief is due to be reduced to zero in the 2012 Finance bill.
This is despite Dame Carol Black, the Government’s national director for health and work, backing a recent YMCA report which criticised Britain’s 'no lunch break' culture and found that one in three people skip eating at work.
According to research by Bupa published earlier this year, UK companies are losing close to £50million a day in lost productivity as workers fail to take a lunch break. Bupa Clinical Director of Occupational Health, Dr. Jenny Leeser, also recently said: “In challenging economic times, the UK work force is in overdrive and the lunch break is falling by the wayside. Instead of taking a break to refuel, workers are using props including chocolates and sweets and caffeinated drinks to get them through the day.”
Andrew Adams of leading employee benefits and flexible benefits provider Edenred commented: “It is widely accepted that eating a proper lunch and taking a break are important for staff to be productive at work. Yet the Government is planning to go in the opposite direction to most European countries by removing the minimal level of tax relief it currently grants.
“Surely if the Government is truly committed to encouraging workers to eating properly at lunchtime and to supporting employers trying to maximise productivity in this tough economic climate, it should be increasing rather than removing tax relief on luncheon schemes?
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