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Can a Worker Accept a Client's Gift?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 2 Aug 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Gifts Hospitality Tax Policy Cash Client

Every worker should find out his or her employer’s attitude to receiving gifts from clients. It’s unwise to assume that accepting a gift is a normal part of the relationship with a client. The recipient can be open to charges of corruption and bribery, no matter how absurd this may seem.

Most organisations recognise this problem. They have a policy in place that discusses the acceptance of gifts, benefits and hospitality. Furthermore, anyone who reads such a policy soon discovers that gift giving and acceptance is not always a simple issue. Rarely will an organisation ban the acceptance of all gifts outright.

Promotional Gifts

Promotional gifts are common in business. They include pens, diaries, calendars, key rings and computer mouse mats. The value of these gifts is usually under £10 each. As a result, many organisations let workers keep them. When the gifts are bottles of wine and boxes of chocolates, some employers run in-house raffles. The money raised goes to charity.

Hospitality

An organisation must have a clear approach to hospitality. Normally, a worker can accept lunch from a client on two assumptions. The first is that the lunch is an opportunity to talk about business. The second is that at some stage, the worker reciprocates and offers to buy the client a meal.

Business lunches and dinners are often a matter of course. The workers who accept them usually have expense accounts to return clients’ hospitality. What matters is that an organisation has written this arrangement into its policy.

Causing Offence

Refusing a gift may cause offence. A worker who does business around the world needs to be aware that other cultures may view the giving and acceptance of gifts as an essential courtesy. Employers should include such scenarios in their gift policies. The usual approach is to accept a client’s gift and notify a manager.

Charities, councils and government agencies generally advise workers never to accept gifts from grateful members of the public. Again, this attitude may cause offence. Gift policies should make the point that it may be best to take a gift and register acceptance with a supervisor or manager.

Influence

A gift policy must include a warning about influence. If workers receive a gift, they must make it clear to the giver, if necessary, that acceptance will not influence a decision. Workers should be polite and thank the giver. They must never give the impression, even in jest, that gifts lead to favours.

Income Tax

A cash gift from a client is subject to income tax. Other gifts are not taxable unless a gift is worth more than £250 in any year. The latter may apply when the gift is not a one-off. It may be a season ticket at a sports venue, for example. Each visit to the venue may be worth less than £250 but the total value over the course of a year may exceed this. If so, the recipient should declare the gift to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

HMRC assesses a cash equivalent value for all declared gifts. When a gift recipient disagrees with a valuation, he or she must supply evidence of the true value.

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[Add a Comment]
@Jackie - you don't say why he keeps phoning you?
Jus59 - 3-Aug-18 @ 2:02 PM
Given jewelleryby client forbeing cleaner. Son later wanted it back. I returned it. Now he keeps phoning me.
Jackie - 2-Aug-18 @ 8:35 PM
@Titch - it's not as easy as it sounds. It can be challenged and there may abe a clause in your contract about accepting money (which you'd have to read). You'd need to seek legal advice.
Ha| - 5-Apr-18 @ 11:59 AM
Are you able to advise if a Home Care Worker can accept a substantial sum of money left to them in a clients will. thank you
Titch - 3-Apr-18 @ 12:46 PM
moose - Your Question:
I have a friend that is totally dedicated to her work, community and empowering especially other women. Unfortunately because of this she has been unfairly targeted at work by her co-workers and her employer. This stems from her receiving a gift from her previous co-worker at her current job at H&M, which she showed(declared) to her co-workers, due to a personal vendetta one of her co-workers called head office and accused her of not accepting a briber. She was subsequently suspended on charges of not declaring gift and accepting a briber, which was later amended to not declaring a gift worth more then R200. The company policy says declare but there is no defined policy about how to declare, and subsequently there is deferent versions and confused even from current employees about the declaration process. She has been found guilty of the of offense. How do we tact this to prove her innocence?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we cannot answer your question as we are a UK-based site with knowledge only of UK-based workplace laws.
WorkingRights - 19-Jan-18 @ 2:38 PM
I have a friend that is totally dedicated to her work, community and empowering especially other women. Unfortunately because of this she has been unfairly targeted at work by her co-workers and her employer. This stems from her receiving a gift from her previous co-worker at her current job at H&M, which she showed(declared) to her co-workers, due to a personal vendetta one of her co-workers called head office and accused her of not accepting a briber. She was subsequently suspended on charges of not declaring gift and accepting a briber,which was later amended to not declaring a gift worth more then R200. The company policy says declare but there is no defined policy about how to declare, and subsequently there is deferent versions and confused even from current employees about the declaration process. She has been found guilty of the of offense. How do we tact this to prove her innocence?
moose - 18-Jan-18 @ 11:36 PM
I work 16-5hrs a wk,I work shifts so though the week I have to work on afters2-8 as my partner works days on a weekend I can work day shifts as my partner is at home.i have done this ever since I started working at the care home.the manger of the home says she dosnt cater for workers with child care problems and put me on days though the week,as they have been short staft on days.can she do this without any notice or any regard for my situation?
Josie - 17-Jul-15 @ 10:44 AM
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