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Should My Company Pay for Eye Sight Tests

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 14 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Eye Test Vdu Visual Display Unit

The rules and regulations regarding your company paying for your eye test is dependant on the type of work you generally do.

You will know if your employer tends to be generous or not about workers issues, such as holiday pay, Christmas bonuses or how you get treated on your birthday. You can get an idea about how generous they are likely to be, or if you will have to keep pushing your point until you get heard.

We will look at the legal health and safety requirements as set out by the government, with your employee rights on the matter, but we will also talk about the reality of the situation in the workplace and how you can get what you are entitled to without looking like a petty employee.

It is generally accepted that the deciding factor in whether or not you can ask for your company to pay for or contribute to your eye test is dependant on the computer-based requirements of your normal job. It is not the case that every worker who uses a computer at work is entitled to a free eye test (paid for by their employers), but there are guidelines to advise if you may be entitled.

The Regulations

The Health and Safety Regulations Act 1992 state that workers that comply to particular circumstances are entitled to have an ‘appropriate test’ paid for by their employers, The circumstances are quite clear and while the term ‘appropriate test’ is not clearly defined, it is taken to mean a standard optician eye test.

The circumstances are focused on the computer-based requirements of your job, with length of time, type of work and regularity the key defining points. The Act mentions issues such as the employee needing to use a visual display unit (VDU) for continuous spells in periods of over one hour, where the transfer of information between the employee and their VDU is key to their job. Although the term VDU is commonly used, it refers to a computer screen.

The act also defines a number of computer husbandry issues that are the responsibility of both the employee and the employer. These include making sure there is no ‘unnecessary’ glare, perhaps by fitting an anti-glare screen, that the VDU and surrounding area is clean, and that the worker is at a suitable height and distance from the computer.

If You Are Entitled

If you think these regulatory guidelines match your circumstances, it is your responsibility to request your employer to pay for your eye test – they do not have a responsibility to offer it to you. You may also request a risk assessment of your work station – including adequate lighting and ventilation.

If you have an eye test and the optician says you need glasses for the sole purpose of working on the computer, you can ask your company to pay for or at least contribute to your glasses. However, if you need to have glasses for driving, reading or anything else too, your company is not required to pay or contribute.

Now that we have clarified what you are or are not entitled to, we ought to mention how this situation is more likely to work in practice. Many large companies are keen to make sure that they comply with regulations and what is required of them, in which case you can go to the HR department and request your eye test reimbursement.

However, if you work in a small company or one in which they are reluctant to pay, you may need to state your case a little clearer. You may also decide that the £20-30 cost of the eye test is not worth making a big deal out of, or to look for another employer that takes more care of their staff.

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Can my employer refuse to give me an eye test voucher? I have handed my notice in recently but I am still employed for a further 4 weeks however, my employer refused to give me a voucher. Is it legal?
Jw27 - 14-Jun-18 @ 7:52 AM
@Dobba - it's up to your company. The College of Optometrists recommends that everyone over the age of 16 should have an eye test every two years. So, that sounds about right.
JaseI - 21-Nov-17 @ 2:51 PM
How often does the company have to pay for an eye test? My employer is offering an eye test every two years.
Dobba - 17-Nov-17 @ 9:36 AM
What should you do if your company is arguing their obligation to pay for an eye test? I am a Graphic designer and they have tried to refuse tor-imburse stating that they only have to do it if it is VDU related problems ( which I know is not the case) I had sent them much info on this! but what is my recourse?
Isis - 31-Jul-17 @ 9:29 AM
I am a legal secretary and work 35 hours per week. I spend the majority of that time in front of a computer screen. My contract does not state anything about my employer paying for eye tests or glasses; are they legally obliged to? If do can you confirm what legislation covers these points so I can put a request forward
Danielle - 5-Jul-17 @ 3:20 PM
I am a temporary worker, have worked for same company now for 9 months, i have seen that as i have worked for the same company over 12 weeks i am entitaled to same benefits as a permanent member of staff. But the Recruiting Agency says because i am a temporary worker i am not entitled to a free eye test even though i wear glasses. is this correct??
Allison - 6-Jun-17 @ 3:05 PM
I work on the checkout at a supermarket. My HR department say because I don't constantly stare at the till screen (as scanning items, talking to customers) I don't qualify for company paid sight test. Yet I can read bar codes with my current glasses (so have to lift glasses up to read part of bar code, then put glasses back to enter number on till, then off to read next few digits etc etc). I would argue I need a new prescription to enable me to do my job but they don't agree. I work for one of the Co op groups. What's the policy with the major supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury's etc I wonder.
Jon - 20-Jan-17 @ 9:51 AM
My organisation has enrolled me into a health cash back plan and say that their obligations under HSE are met as I can claim the cost of A DSEu test and glasses (if needed) back from them. In the past I have always had an evoucher to cover this test in addition to the cash back available. Does Simply Health cash back cover their responsibility and can I ask for a seperate test? The rules seem quite unclear. Many thanks in advance.
Simonf - 18-Jan-17 @ 12:13 PM
Hi, I am an apprentice receptionist, I work 40 hours per week on the computer and recently my eyes have started going funny. Do i get the same entitlement as everyone else if I am an apprentice? Thanks for any advice / help.
Kell - 16-Jan-17 @ 4:00 PM
I work for an NHS Trust and have been told by the outsourced Occ Health team that they only provide an eye test voucher for Specsavers. My prescription is very complex and I have to go to an independent opticians because I have previously had a lot of problems at Specsavers who cannot get my prescription right. Can my employers dictate where I get my test?
Emjayjay - 31-Oct-16 @ 3:38 PM
I work at a post office/ shop as an apprentice but may get the job after it. We work with three seperate computers i work around 8 hours a day 6 days a week i have already been to the opticians for a check up and have said my eye sight has gotten worse and need glasses. Im i entitled to payment from my boss for my glasses
Jaguar - 15-Apr-16 @ 12:44 PM
Flick - Your Question:
My husband is an HGV Driver. Is his company entitled to pay for his eye test?

Our Response:
You would need to check your contract. While your employer has a responsibility for driver safety and may have its own procedures in place to ensure medical fitness to drive, eye testing for HGV drivers is still not your employer's specific responsibility above a standard number plate test.
WorkingRights - 14-Apr-16 @ 11:08 AM
My husband is an HGV Driver.Is his company entitled to pay for his eye test?
Flick - 13-Apr-16 @ 10:20 AM
My company contributes to a healthplan which enables us to claim back an amount towards eyecare/dental & medical bills. We then as employees decide whether to also contribute to get a bigger reimbursement. In this case should my employer still pay for my eye test?
Juzza - 11-Jan-16 @ 3:14 PM
Angel - Your Question:
I had an eye test at the weekend and have been prescribed prescription glasses for use at my work as I is a computer screen for 8 hours a day. I submitted my claim for reimbursement of my eye test and contribution for the glasses, however my claim was refused as my employer says that they give spec saver vouchers for eye tests and do not pay towards glasses. This is a large company should I pursue my claim?

Our Response:
Take a look at your contract, you may find your company's guidelines of eye tests and what it allows included in it. If it specifies that it gives vouchers for eye tests, then there is nothing you can do. Also, before you had the eye test, you should have spoken to your line manager to find out your company policy. However, as specified in the article, while it is your responsibility to request your employer to pay for your eye test, they do not have a responsibility to offer it to you. You may also request a risk assessment of your work station – including adequate lighting and ventilation. If you have an eye test and the optician says you need glasses for the sole purpose of working on the computer, you can ask your company to pay for or at least contribute to your glasses. However, if you need to have glasses for driving, reading or anything else too, your company is not required to pay or contribute.
WorkingRights - 24-Nov-15 @ 12:59 PM
I had an eye test at the weekend and have been prescribed prescription glasses for use at my work as I is a computer screen for 8 hours a day. I submitted my claim for reimbursement of my eye test and contribution for the glasses, however my claim was refused as my employer says that they give spec saver vouchers for eye tests and do not pay towards glasses. This is a large company should I pursue my claim?
Angel - 23-Nov-15 @ 8:42 PM
I work 8 or 9hr shifts 6 days and watch cctv for for 4 - 4.5hrs per shift, am I entitled to a free eye test from my employer (small business) ?
jonesy - 13-Oct-15 @ 11:21 PM
@delta1 - your company can recommend somewhere, but they should not be able to dictate where you go, if you wish to go somewhere different, unless they can provide a good reason.
Ailsa - 8-Oct-15 @ 12:44 PM
Can you please advise if a company can dictate where you have your eye test if they are paying for it?
delta1 - 7-Oct-15 @ 9:10 PM
My company has enrolled me into a corporate paid cash plan which covers me to reclaim £55.00 for optical care including sight tests.Will I be able to reclaim the cost of my sight test separately under the health and safety regulations act 1992 as I have had a risk assessment and been identified as using a PC/VDU for the majority of my working day?
spacemen3 - 24-Sep-15 @ 8:57 PM
bex - Your Question:
If I work for a local authority education system and I am part of the web team, which includes working on a computer every day, should I not be entitled to a free eye test under the Health and Safety Regulations Act 1992?

Our Response:
You should approach your employer directly. As specified in the article, if you think the regulatory guidelines match your circumstances, it is your responsibility to request your employer to pay for your eye test , they do not have a responsibility to offer it to you.
WorkingRights - 18-Sep-15 @ 12:37 PM
If i work for a local authority education system and i am part of the web team, which includes working on a computer every day, should i not be entitled to a free eye test under the Health and Safety Regulations Act 1992?
bex - 17-Sep-15 @ 11:31 AM
BUGS - Your Question:
If a colleague has made a false accusation , what are my rights to refuse to be put in a position to work/supervise them in the future in case they may try to falsely accuse me again.

Our Response:
You would have to run this directly by your employer.
WorkingRights - 18-Aug-15 @ 11:36 AM
If a colleague has made a false accusation , what are my rights to refuse to be put in a position to work/supervise them in the future in case they may try to falsely accuse me again.
BUGS - 17-Aug-15 @ 1:51 PM
@Angel - UNISON believes that employers should allow paid time off to attend eye tests during working hours. However, you may have to speak to your employer about this or look in your contract to see whether anything is stipulated.
WorkingRights - 21-May-15 @ 2:19 PM
Hi, I am a lecturer and am having trouble while marking students work. I booked an appointment to go for an eye test on a Monday and when asked to go for a test was told that I need to do it over the weekend. As the test is work related I am confused as to why I have to do the test in m time. Could you please help with this. If I'm wrong fine but if not that isn't fair. Thanks
Angel - 18-May-15 @ 9:50 AM
@jools - it depends really on whether there is a valid reason. For instance if the company employs a lot of drivers, then it may want its employees tested for safety purposes. However, it is usually the other way around and the company is obliged to provide them only if the employee asks for an eyesight test.
WorkingRights - 16-Apr-15 @ 3:02 PM
Can you please advise if a company can dictate where you have your eye test if they are paying for it?
jools - 14-Apr-15 @ 12:09 PM
Does doing close-up work entitle employees to the same financial help for eye tests as VDU users? I work for a company where small instrument trays are hand made and require sustained close-up work with small tools.
Annie - 24-Mar-15 @ 2:45 PM
The employer has an obligation to pay for all staff who use Visual Display Unit (VDU) for more than one consecutive hour per working day an eye test. The maximum number an employee can claim for is once every two years. If you have an eye exam every 6 months, you pay for the rest. There are plenty of places who offer free eye tests (Tescos, Asda etc...) and where possible the employee should seek these out first. Most companies will cap the maximum cost for an eye test (£20 or £25 usually) as anything more than this is a rip off. The employer is to contribute up to the cost of standard NHS frames and single lenses. (combined not individually)The cheapest being £38.30, most employers will pay around £50 - £60 towards frames/lenses. Hope this helps :-)
HrGuru - 16-Dec-14 @ 4:14 PM
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