Vorsicht bei Weihnachtsgeschenken: Das sollten Sie unbedingt beachten

Weihnachtsgeschenke gehören schon fast per Definition zur Weihnachtskorrespondenz, und das Auswählen und Besorgen legen Chefs – nach Absprache – gerne in die bewährten Hände der Assistentin. In der Regel läuft das routiniert und komplikationslos, aber es gibt Ausnahmen. Wir zeigen Ihnen, wo die Stolpersteine liegen.

Denn Geschenk ist nicht gleich Geschenk. Es gibt einen Begriff, der uns da weiterhilft. Unser Kreuzworträtsel rund um Weihnachten und die Glückwünsche zum Fest zeigt, worum es aus juristischer Sicht auch bei Weihnachtsgeschenken geht. 

Das Lösungswort in der grauen Spalte kam schon in der letzten Ausgabe Ihrer English@Work vor, erinnern Sie sich? Dort – oder im Downloadbereich im Internet – können Sie nachlesen, worum es bei diesem Thema im Detail geht. 

 

Weihnachtsgeschenke als Sonderfall

Christmas is the most widespread gift-giving holiday of the year. So the risk of getting accused of bribery is quite low, as long as the costs of the gifts are reasonable.

 


Don’t use the abbreviation “Xmas” in greeting letter or cards or any other formal writing, as it is considered too informal.


There is no set limit on the cost of Christmas presents in business. Twenty, thirty or even 50 Euros seem to be acceptable. But as there are no explicit rules in these cases it is advisable to give out clear company guidelines regarding Christmas presents.

Eigene Geschenke des Chefs an Partner

If you get the job of buying presents for special customers and your boss’s closest business friends you might remind him or her of the legal situation and have him set a maximum limit of, say, 45 Euros.

That is the easy part of the deal. More difficult is the employees’ part:

Geschenke von Partnern an Mitarbeiter

Some employees get Christmas presents from business partners who value their work. This is often the case, for example, with assistants and secretaries. Quite often customers just want to express their thanks for your great support over the last year.

But other groups can also come into the business partners’ focus: Those employees who are in positions to be of some use to the partner, let’s say in deciding about new contracts. If such an employee accepted a valuable Christmas gift like a wrist watch, this might influence the employee in the giver’s favour, and could therefore be considered bribery.

Wie Sie Bestechung an Weihnachten verhindern

To avoid such situations it is advisable to hand out detailed company rules for dealing with Christmas presents.

The management could:

1. Forbid the acceptance of any Christmas presents from customers or partners.
2. Define an acceptable limit for presents, e. g. 20 Euros. And they might request to be informed and asked for permission if the gift is more valuable.
3. Keep a register to record all gifts received.


Quote


Christmas is the season when you buy this year‘s gifts with next year‘s money.

Author Unknown 

 

Aushang am Schwarzen Brett oder Brief an alle Angestellten

Musterbrief

Verbot der Annahme von (Weihnachts-) Geschenken

As Christmas is around the corner we have updated our employee manual with regard to the company’s official policy concerning gifts of any kind and for any occasion, not only for Christmas. Givers can be suppliers, vendors, and customers.

With immediate effect, no employee is permitted to solicit or accept a present of any value from anyone with whom we do business or who wants to do business with our company. We recognise (BE)/recognize (AE) that in many cases such gifts are innocent pleasantries. Nevertheless we have decided not to accept any presents. The purpose of this policy is to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest in all of our departments and operations. Please politely refuse any presents from now onwards. We will inform our suppliers and vendors about this policy.

If you have any questions about this policy, please contact HR help desk at extension 2493.

The second option is very difficult to handle as nobody can tell exactly what the value of a gift received might be without spending time and money on research. So the first option is much simpler. On the left we have provided an example of how you can communicate this management decision. (If option 1. is agreed then option 3 would not be required.)

Jokebox
What did the dog get for Christmas this year? A mobile bone!

Diskussionen vermeiden

Some readers might take the description “present of any value” in the letter as an opportunity for discussion. But you can quickly nip that in the bud, because it is obvious what is meant: All kinds of mass products given out without hesitation like cheap biros or lanyard keychains with company logo imprints would not be included. These give-aways cannot be called presents.

Vocabulary Box
bribery                                   – Bestechung
effective immediately            – mit sofortiger Wirkung
explicit                                   – detailliert, eindeutig
lanyard keychain                   – Schlüsselband
nip s.th. in the bud                 – etwas im Keim ersticken
pleasantry                              – Nettigkeit
solicit                                     – erbitten
supplier                                 – Anbieter, Lieferant
unobjectionable                    – unbedenklich
valuable                                – wertvoll
vendor                                  – Lieferant, Zwischenhändler
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