About Us  |  About Cheetah®  |  Contact Us

Survey finds American workers spend an average of $3000 a year on coffee and lunch at work

American workers spend an alarmingly high amount of their hard earned cash on somewhat average daily expenses, according to a new Workonomix survey by Accounting Principals. The survey found that 50 percent of the American workforce spends approximately $1000 a year on coffee, or a weekly coffee habit of more than $20. And the spending doesn’t stop there. Two thirds (66 percent) of working Americans buy their lunch instead of packing it, costing them an average of $37 per week — nearly $2,000 a year.

Despite these high costs, the survey suggests workers are unclear about the biggest drain to their wallet. When asked which work expense they most want to be reimbursed for by their employer, 42 percent of employees chose commuting costs and only 11 percent chose lunch expenses. However, the average American’s commuting cost is $123 a month or approximately $1500 a year, which is well below the average annual lunch tab of $2000.

“Small — but consistent — expenses add up quickly over time, and it can be difficult for consumers to realize it because they’re only spending a few dollars at a time. But, as our survey shows, those few dollars can quickly turn into a few thousand dollars,” said Jodi Chavez, senior vice president, Accounting Principals. “Additionally, when you look at it over a worker’s lifetime, that number grows exponentially. Consider the average American who works for about 40 years, starting their first job around age 22. By the time they retire at age 62 they would have spent at minimum $120,000 on coffee and lunch, not including inflation.”

This is especially true for young American workers. The survey found that younger professionals (ages 18-34) spend almost twice as much on coffee during the week than those ages 45+ ($24.74 vs. $14.15, respectively). They also shell out more for lunch, spending an average of $44.78 per week on lunch compared to their older colleagues who spend $31.80 per week. However, it seems American workers of all ages are starting to realize the effect this incremental spending has on their personal bottom line. According to the survey, one-third (35 percent) of employees have made it a financial goal to bring lunch instead of buying it in 2012.

Other survey findings include:

  • Better food and coffee in the office might help cut back personal spending. Perhaps because of how much they’re spending outside the office, American workers would like companies to invest in better food and drinks in the office. One-quarter (25 percent) of Americans wish their company would invest in better vending machine snacks and 22 percent of American workers would like their company to invest in better coffee in the office.
  • Employers should focus on the “simple pleasures” to keep employees happy. Although better food and drinks would be a plus, employees most want to see their companies invest in better office equipment (46 percent) and more comfortable office chairs (32 percent) in 2012.
  • Corporate discounts do not factor into employees’ purchase decisions. Companies looking to attract new candidates shouldn’t focus on corporate discounts as a selling point. The majority (82 percent) of employees say corporate discounts matter little or not at all when buying a new product or service.

“As the recovery gains momentum and companies look to attract and retain talent, they should consider worrying less about big-ticket discounts and focus instead on what will impact their employees’ happiness every day,” said Chavez. “Small improvements around the office, such as better equipment, food and drinks, can make a big difference in workers’ morale. After all it is often the little things in life that tend to make people the happiest.”

Source: Accounting Principals; www.accountingprincipals.com.

California governor signs pay data bill, nixes state emergency call-back after layoff measures

October 7th, 2020

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.
An annual pay data report will be required for private employers with 100 or more employees that are required to file an annual Employer Information Report under federal law.
On September 30, California Governor Gavin Newsome put his signature on a bill that will require private employers with [Read more...]

Employee could not rely on federal whistleblower statute to escape arbitration agreement

October 7th, 2020

By Kathleen Kapusta, J.D.
The party opposing arbitration, and urging a congressional command contrary to the FAA, faces a high bar, said the court, and the employee could not hurdle that bar with the whistleblower statute.
A federal whistleblower statute did not render unenforceable an arbitration agreement between an employee and his [Read more...]

Hospital employee failed to show reaction to flu vaccine was disability at time of accommodation request

October 5th, 2020

By Kathleen Kapusta, J.D.
“Courts have been careful to distinguish impairments which merely affect major life activities from those that substantially limit those activities.”
A hospital senior project manager could not show her reactions to the flu vaccine—shortness of breath and heart palpitations—constituted a disability at the time she requested an accommodation to her [Read more...]

Teacher fired for seeking union involvement in district’s COVID-19 distance learning planning advances retaliation claims

October 5th, 2020

By Robert Margolis, J.D.
The court finds speech on behalf of a union was not preclusive of finding the teacher spoke as a private citizen.
A federal district court in Rhode Island has denied the Tiverton School District’s motion to dismiss claims by a teacher and president of the local teachers’ union alleging she [Read more...]

Persistent rumors of female trooper’s alleged promiscuity, affairs, support revival of hostile environment claim

October 2nd, 2020

By Kathleen Kapusta, J.D.
Disagreeing with the court below, the appeals court observed that a reasonable jury could find the trooper raised triable fact issues as to the severity and pervasiveness of the alleged conduct.
Reversing summary judgment against the Title VII sex-based hostile work environment claim of a female highway patrol [Read more...]