For small businesses requiring drivers, fuel is often one of the largest expenses. Offering fuel cards to employees enables an efficient reimburse process and allows employers to optimise fuel costs.
Regardless of how good the employees are (or how loyal), it’s human nature to be tempted to maximise their income if there’s an opportunity. Hence, fuel card fraud, which often involves using the company fuel card for personal vehicles, is of serious concern to many employers.
There are a few checks and balances the management can embed in the process to minimise fraudulent claims such as assigning a unique PIN number to each employee and setting daily spending limits.
Most effective and popular method, however, is installing GPS fleet tracking systems; these systems compare the actual costs with the estimates calculated based on the distance and route travelled to flag any suspicious activities. It serves as both a deterrent to undesirable behaviour and evidence against those who commit fraud.
Nowadays, these GPS systems offer a variety of functionalities. For instance, they can monitor routes and distance driven, obtain information on fuel use, and shut down the ignition completely when vehicles get stolen.
When leveraging such technology, employers must consider the legalities of employee surveillance as well as its impact on employee morale. Nobody likes to be spied on, especially without their knowledge or consent.
Australia does not have uniform laws covering tracking surveillance. Nevertheless, most states have Acts covering its use and restrictions. Only Queensland and Tasmania do not have specific laws related to the subject. New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory have the strictest policies and it’s possible that the rest of the country might be adopting similar measures. Therefore, if you operate nationally, you might want to comply with the strictest laws (such as NSW’s Workplace Surveillance Act) as the standard across your operations.
In general, using a tracking device to intentionally track and record employees’ activities is a criminal offence without the consent, express or implied, of all parties involved .
NSW Workplace Surveillance Act (Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory also similar)
Western Australia, The Surveillance Devices Act from 1998
Victoria, The Surveillance Device Act of 1999