This page outlines good practice when reimbursing consumers for their involvement activity
In line with international good practice, researchers/research organisations should consider offering consumers a payment (honorarium) for their involvement as well as reimbursement for any expenses incurred (e.g. travel and accommodation, respite or child care).
Early in the process, it is useful to discuss with consumers how (or whether) they would like to be paid or acknowledged for their contributions. Ideally, the process of payment should be simple and easy to navigate. Consumers should also be given clear information on how to get assistance should they need it.
It is also important that consumers are aware that any payments they receive may affect their taxable income, pension or benefits. It is good practice to recommend that consumers get advice if they are unsure if payments will affect their tax status.
Health Consumers NSW provide good practice guidance:
- Payment or reimbursement arrangements need to be in place and explained to consumers prior to the beginning of their involvement. This information needs to include the name and contact details of the staff member allocated to this task.
- Some consumers may prefer not to be paid or reimbursed; instead they prefer to decline payment or may prefer a donation to be made to a charity.
- It may be important for some consumers to receive their reimbursement for travel expenses prior to attending the meeting or activity, such as a cab-charge. It is best to discuss this with them in advance.
- Payment and reimbursement should be made promptly. Consumers should not have to follow up with the organisation on their outstanding payment and reimbursement.
To provide a framework for payments and reimbursements, it is generally good practice for organisations to develop a payment/reimbursement policy.
Reimbursing expenses for some consumers ‘up front’ (e.g. providing pre-paid phone card) may encourage a wider or more diverse group to take part. It is also important to remember that some people you involve may not have a bank account so some forms of payment will not be feasible.
Your organisation may have a standard expense form that you are required to use for any consumer reimbursement. If not, this form may be adapted.