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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Meal Voucher

A meal voucher is a prepaid certificate or token provided by an employer to an employee, typically redeemable at designated restaurants or food establishments, allowing the employee to purchase meals or food items.

What are meal vouchers?

Meal vouchers are prepaid vouchers or cards provided by employers to employees as a benefit to cover the cost of meals. These vouchers typically have a specific monetary value and can be used at participating restaurants, cafeterias, or food establishments to purchase meals or food items. Employees can redeem meal vouchers in place of cash payment, making them a convenient and tax-efficient way to subsidize meal expenses.

Listen, recognize, award, and retain your employees with our Employee engagement software  

What types of establishments accept meal vouchers?

Meal vouchers are commonly accepted at a variety of establishments, including restaurants, cafes, fast-food chains, canteens, and food delivery services that have partnered with the issuer of the vouchers. The specific list of participating establishments may vary depending on the provider of the meal vouchers and any agreements or partnerships they have established with merchants.

How are meal vouchers typically distributed to employees?

Meal vouchers are often distributed to employees either physically or electronically, depending on the preferences and policies of the employer. Physical meal vouchers are usually issued as paper vouchers or cards that employees can present to participating merchants for redemption. Alternatively, some employers may opt for electronic meal vouchers, which are loaded onto a digital platform or mobile app, allowing employees to access and redeem vouchers electronically.

How do employers benefit from offering meal vouchers to employees?

Employers benefit from offering meal vouchers to employees in several ways, including:

  • Attracting and retaining talent: Meal vouchers can be a valuable employee benefit that helps attract top talent to the organization and retain existing employees by enhancing their overall compensation package.
  • Tax advantages: In many jurisdictions, meal vouchers are considered non-taxable benefits for both employers and employees, providing tax savings for both parties.
  • Improved employee morale and productivity: Providing meal vouchers demonstrates the employer's commitment to employee well-being and can contribute to a positive work environment, leading to increased morale, engagement, and productivity among employees.

How do meal vouchers differ from other employee benefits, such as meal allowances or cafeteria plans?

Meal vouchers differ from other employee benefits such as meal allowances or cafeteria plans in several ways:

  • Meal vouchers are typically provided as prepaid vouchers or cards that employees can use to purchase meals at specific establishments, whereas meal allowances are cash payments given to employees to cover meal expenses, providing more flexibility in how the funds are used.
  • Cafeteria plans, also known as flexible benefit plans, allow employees to allocate a certain portion of their pre-tax salary to fund various benefits, including meal expenses, health insurance, and retirement savings, giving employees more control over their benefits package.
  • While meal vouchers are often provided by the employer directly or through a third-party provider, meal allowances and cafeteria plans may be administered by the employer or through a benefits administrator, depending on the structure of the program.

Are there restrictions on how meal vouchers can be used?

While meal vouchers are intended to cover the cost of meals, there may be certain restrictions on how they can be used. For example, meal vouchers may not be redeemable for alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, or non-food items.

Additionally, some meal voucher providers may specify certain usage limitations, such as expiration dates, maximum daily or monthly limits, or restrictions on combining multiple vouchers for a single transaction.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

Are there limitations on the value or frequency of meal vouchers provided to employees?

The value and frequency of meal vouchers provided to employees can vary depending on the employer's policies and budgetary considerations. Some employers may offer meal vouchers as a fixed amount per meal, while others may provide vouchers on a periodic basis, such as daily, weekly, or monthly.

Additionally, there may be limitations on the total annual value of meal vouchers provided to employees to ensure compliance with tax regulations and budget constraints.

Can meal vouchers be used for takeaway or delivery orders?

In many cases, meal vouchers can be used for takeaway or delivery orders, depending on the policies of the voucher issuer and the participating merchants. With the rise of food delivery services and online ordering platforms, many establishments now accept meal vouchers for takeaway or delivery orders placed through their platforms or apps.

However, it's essential for employees to check with the specific merchant or review the terms and conditions of the meal voucher to confirm eligibility for takeaway or delivery purchases.

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