I was recently hired for a few days to work for a certain employer at a certain location. The place has no facilities whatsoever (no fridge, no microwave, etc.). Would it be OK to ask my employer to compensate me for meals because of their lack of fridge? I start work early in the morning so by the time lunch comes around, even if I were to make a sandwich it would no longer be good even with an ice pack.

  • 3
    How do your colleagues handle this? Do they go out to eat every day?
    – Erik
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 10:12
  • 1
    Do you have an insulated lunch bag? Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 10:28
  • @Erik actually, this is a short-term gig so yes, some do. Others live close to the site so it's not a problem for them.
    – JDoe
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 13:27

3 Answers 3


It's not ok unless you have that in your contract.

You can try asking your boss for advice how to deal with the problem however. We all need to eat, so maybe there's a fridge somewhere else that your predecessors used or a different solution.

However, I don't think your sandwiches would be wasted by lunchtime (let's say max. 8 h out of fridge) even if you are in a warm climate.

You could also think about buying one of these bags that keep products cold.

  • 1
    I'd probably be even clearer on the No it is Not OK part. If it is in the contract it would likely be in place. As per suggestions for handling it, I'd suggest bread that store easily, boiled eggs, uncut fruits and vegetables, canned foods - there are many options.
    – Stian
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 10:20
  • Alternatively, if the problem is keeping things cold - bring hot food in a food flask. Although sandwiches freeze well and I'd be surprised if a frozen sandwich in an insulated bag with a couple of freezer blocks was even warm by lunch, let alone inedible. Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 15:36

It is ok to ask for reimbursement if you travel to a customer and are forced to buy lunch (travel expensens, most employers have a fixed allowance)

It is not ok to ask at your regular place of work, even if it has no facilities to accommodate your choice of preparing a meal. There are options that work without fridge or microwave - even a sandwich normally survives some hours without cooling, just skip on the mayonaise!

Beeing there for a few days only suggest you are in some kind of freelancing situation, so this may be somewhat of a gray area. Normally anything you don´t negotiate for in your salary negotiations is not included.


I am one who doesn't like getting up early in the morning. So I make my sandwiches last thing at night. They sit in the fridge overnight. The following morning, they go in an insulated lunch box (just the sort with a bit of foam padding, not a proper cool box), along with a couple of ice packs.

They are still perfectly edible by lunch time, and the cold drinks I put in with them are still cold. The ice packs remain frozen until the afternoon - at least six hours.

So get a decent lunch box, and a couple of ice packs, and stop being so needy.

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