Money To Live

October 23, 2008

Free dinner?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am

Some employers give salaried employees the option of expensing dinner if they work past a certain time. From several friends, I have heard that $25 is a common limit for staying late at the office.

While this seems like a great perk, the real purpose of it is to keep people working longer, without paying them more. Employees being offered a free dinner almost always are making than $25 per hour. If the employee is salaried, the employer usually gets at least two extra hours of work by offering the dinner.

Given the option of an extra $50 in cash a night (versus $25 in reimbursed dinner expenses), I bet a lot of employees would take the $50 and eat cheap dinners (or just not eat dinner).

Maybe another reason employers like the giving employees free dinner instead of higher salaries is that the employer does not have to pay payroll taxes (i.e., social security) on the business expense.



  1. Do you think this is something most people can negotiate with their employer? Or do you just have to work longer without getting properly compensated and be quietly pissed?

    Comment by Shannon — October 23, 2008 @ 10:40 am |Reply

  2. This makes me think of food at seminars in Princeton, though it’s not really the same.

    Comment by Anita — October 23, 2008 @ 5:31 pm |Reply

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