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About rodent presence at work (and expenses)

(19 Posts)
Chapterandverse Wed 01-Nov-17 16:45:32

If you work in an office where you can claim expenses back (ie: business lunch, coffee with clients etc) would this be acceptable in your workplace?

A mouse was spotted on the premises a few weeks ago, pest control called & one mouse caught. There's evidence of more mice - droppings, paper ate to shreds..

Yesterday a mouse was spotted in the kitchen area of the office. However the smell in the kitchen for the past week already had us suspicious there might be vermin around it.

Today nobody wanted to go to the kitchen to fill the kettle as it hadn't been cleaned since the mouse was there. One staff member was happy to clean in but there wasn't appropriate cleaning materials (ie: only one sponge that we couldn't be sure was free of rodents urine & a bottle of fairy liquid) no bleach, no spray etc...

We do have a part time "handy man" who empties bins and cleans but he wasn't in today.

We went to an upstairs bathroom to fill the kettle for tea/coffee but there was no running water, only water from a geyser that comes out at 2 miles an hour and the kettle wouldn't fit under the tap of it!!

Exasperated, it was suggested we buy coffee from the nearby coffee shop and claim on expenses as we couldn't even do the basics of making a coffee!

We did so but when our line manager found out (small office, he had been out when this happened but we got him a coffee too which he drank) he said it wouldn't be approved on expenses. We are allowed to claim for fuel if working in a different office or if we take a client out for coffee (but not lunch)

AIBU to think whilst they're not obliged to reimburse us, it would be the decent thing to do given we hadn't proper access to a clean kitchen? It would have been cleaned by one of us only there were no proper cleaning products.

There are two expectant women in our work place and another who lives with an immune-compromised parent. We hate that work haven't taken the rodent issue seriously and we're expected to continue working when mice could be running and weeing all over our keyboards at night! (One was found in a colleague's drawer when they opened it!)

TheSpottedZebra Wed 01-Nov-17 16:49:28

I think you're mixing up a few issues:

Are you entitled to free tea and coffee whilst at work?
What if they are not available?
What is reasonable with regard to the mouse problem?

It will probably depend on exactly what is detailed in your T&C of employment, also your expenses policy.

I suspect YAB a bit U.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 01-Nov-17 16:49:43

No you can take your own food, drink in - use flasks and sealed Tupperware.

The only thing they have to supply you with is water.

They are dealing with the pest problem? They’ve been out and put traps down ?

SloanePeterson Wed 01-Nov-17 16:51:56

Yabu. But so are work to not actually deal with the vermin issue. You could just as easily (and much more cheaply) gone to buy appropriate cleaning products and then claimed that money back.

OOAOML Wed 01-Nov-17 16:58:10

We don't have a kitchen at work but we have drinks machines that dispense water, tea, coffee, hot chocolate. On the occasions when there's a building wide issue (water supply etc) bottled water is put out at the machines but there wouldn't be any cover for buying your own coffee.

Who was it who suggested you buy coffees and claim?

ThePinkPanter Wed 01-Nov-17 16:59:15

They need to sort out the pest issue but no, buying coffees at work yourself and charging it on expenses is an unreasonable ask.
If you really need a coffee bring it in a flask or buy a big bottle of water to fill the kettle with (£1?). How much did the takeaway coffees cost?

ThePinkPanter Wed 01-Nov-17 17:01:43

Sorry I just reread that. For some reason I thought the water wasn't running, not that you didn't want to touch the kettle. Away and give your head a wobble!

Nikephorus Wed 01-Nov-17 17:04:51

I have a mental picture of the mouse making himself / herself a cup of tea in the kitchen.

Chapterandverse Wed 01-Nov-17 17:58:25

Lol i did think we were being a bit unreasonable.

I'm ok with not being reimbursed - I won't push for it but I suspect the colleague who suggested it will. It was more of a move to make them take us seriously. There are a number of H&S issues in our building which management ignore.

We usually buy our own tea/coffee/milk etc but I think we were just so frustrated with HR & management not dealing with the mice issue.

The fairy liquid in the kitchen (and the scrubbing brush) were both bought by me when I couldn't stand washing cups in plain water anymore & when I asked for reimbursement it wasn't forthcoming as there was no money in petty cash.

Thanks for the comments - heads being wobbled as we speak wink

malmi Wed 01-Nov-17 17:58:43

You should have got approval from your manager before buying things with the intention of putting them on expenses when they're not normally expenseable.

If you can go into the kitchen to retrieve the kettle, I'm sure you could manage to fill it and switch it on, then go back in to retrieve it once boiled, even if you ended up making the drinks somewhere else.

If there is running water in the toilets then you can fill a kettle from that. If you can't get the kettle under then fill a mug and pour it into the kettle.

Basically - you didn't need to buy coffees in.

Keep the pressure on the company to get the rodent issue sorted but don't expect them to fund your mochachocolattes in the meantime.

Chapterandverse Wed 01-Nov-17 17:59:34

And it wasn't the fact we didn't want to touch the kettle - the kettle didn't fit below the only other tap that isn't in the kitchen. It's a geyser tap over a tiny tin bathroom sink.

Chapterandverse Wed 01-Nov-17 18:02:21

Ah, the kettle doesn't stay in the kitchen.

It's a sharable kitchen for three different departments and we just go there to fill kettle and to put food in fridge.

The kettle stays in our office on a desk with tea/coffee/sugar etc..

It didn't even enter our heads to buy a bottle of water to fill it with 🤣 I'll take one with me tomorrow! (Were all university educated people blush)

ThePinkPanter Wed 01-Nov-17 18:28:17

Ach OP! Now YABU because you're being too reasonable wink Fair play to you for taking it on the chin.

ThePinkPanter Wed 01-Nov-17 18:28:19

Ach OP! Now YABU because you're being too reasonable wink Fair play to you for taking it on the chin.

SilverSpot Wed 01-Nov-17 18:30:42

I do not think that it is appropriate to have charged tea/coffee and lunch on expenses in this case.

SilverSpot Wed 01-Nov-17 18:31:25

You could have used a cup to get water from the tap and put in the kettle if the kettle didn't fit under.

Chapterandverse Wed 01-Nov-17 18:39:47

Yes we could have! If anyone had've thought of it! I know I keep saying it but I think our tempers were just up at lack of response from HR over the mice.

Oh and we're very rural, small town - 3 teas and 3 filter coffees were £1.20.

ThePinkPanter Wed 01-Nov-17 20:07:39

As in 20p each?!

Chapterandverse Wed 01-Nov-17 20:18:47

£1.20 per cup.

Sorry I missed out the very important "each" at the end of that!

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