The purpose of the allowance is to:
- Compensate the staff for having to spend more on meals
When the staff is in his home country, he could have home cooked food. But while overseas, he's definitely have to eat out and it will probably cause him to spend more on food.
- Compensate the staff for extra transport cost
When a staff is travelling in his home country, he can use public transport. But when he's overseas, he's probably have to rely on taxis as he's not familiar with the transport system. This excludes travelling on official business, which can be claimed separately
- Compensate staff on phone calls
When a staff is overseas, he needs to call his family and friends. This will incur roaming charges. Calls made on official business can be claimed separately as well
These reasons are what I can think of. There may be more. Anyway, I was surprised to find a clause that staff going on overseas training is not eligible for the allowance. So the extra incurred due to food transport and phone calls are to be bourne by me alone. The reason given to me is that when a staff goes on course, the company is already paying for the course fee, and the course also benefit the staff as it enhance his value. Whereas, when a staff goes on a business trip, it is to generate revenue to the company.
This got me puzzled. When I go on course, isn't it to acquire a skill so that I can perform a job for the company so that the company can deliver to the client and thus realise it's revenue? And while going on course enhances a staff's value, doesn't business trips enhances the staff value as well. He improves on his contacts as well. Moreover in my case, going for the course does not enhance my value at all. My value has already been enhanced when I am put in this project that uses this 3rd party product. Whether I go for this course will not make a difference to my value. Somemore, the course that I am going for may not be what I wanted but I have to do because my projects needed the skill set. And lastly, what if my course is in the USA or Australia? The cost of meals is not that high in Malaysia, so it won't cost me too much to pay on my own. But if it's in USA, then it's very different. How can a staff in expected to pay that on his own?
I don't know who come up with this idea. "The staff is now using company money to go on course, so good. We should not give him any allowance". 1 reasonable reason I heard is that the course should have provide the meals. Well, the hotel provide the breakfast, the course should provide the lunch and tea breaks. But that still leaves me dinner.
In conclusion, there are some welfare rules that should be given. eg. Compassionate leave. A company can chose not to give compassionate leaves to staff, but doing so will only give it a bad name. This issue is similar I thought.
My company has not changed their policy to allow staff to claim allowance on overseas training. Yipee!