Everyone knows what a “per diem” payment is. Per diem means, simply, “each day.” Corporate bodies -- whether public or private -- use the term to identify the amount that an employee may be repaid for meals, local expenses, and accommodation paid out of pocket.
Of course, hardly anyone pays for those expenses out of pocket any more. They go directly onto the corporate credit card.
So, theoretically, there should be little need for per diem payments.
Unless those employees feel entitled to receive those payments, regardless of what they didn’t actually spend.
Per diem payments exemplify, to my mind, the underlying issue in the scandal involving two senior officers of the B.C. Legislature, Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz.
Speaker Darryl Plecas noted that both claimed full per diem compensation for occasions where meals had been provided by their British hosts.
And they had also claimed, on their expense accounts, $1000 suits. Jewelry. Luggage. Souvenirs.