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Ing. Ladislav Luka, Fuel expert

The Per Diem Allowance for Truck Drivers in 2023

The reality of driving a truck is that you will inevitably spend money while traveling for business, especially if you cover long distances. As a result, many governments have implemented per diem systems to guide drivers through the process of expense reimbursement.

The Per Diem Allowance for Truck Drivers in 2023

Suppose you are looking for a job as a truck driver. In this case, you may have encountered several companies offering per diem opportunities, and may need clarification about what that means and whether it benefits you.

This article will discuss everything you should know about the per diem system across many European countries, as well as some other places around the world.

What Does Per Diem (Meal Allowance) Mean?

Per diem literally means “per day”, and it typically refers to a meal allowance employers give to their workers for daily expenses while on business trips. One of the significant aspects of being a truck driver is that you are often away from home. As such, you need to buy all of your meals while traveling. In order to assist with the costs incurred, many companies provide this meal allowance to their employees to get them started.

A per diem payment can cover most of your expenses. For example, it pays for your meal, lodging, and clothing expenses depending on what is acceptable from your employer. Most firms have different per diem policies. Some include all costs, while others only provide for meals and lodging.

How Does Per Diem Work for Trucking Business?

The per diem payment differs with every company. Some prefer to pay their workers when they travel, while others prefer to reimburse them when they return. Since it is designed to cover expenses while on business, per diem payments are non-taxable. However, spending within the allowed amount is important because your company only provides additional payments within their permitted rate.

How do Truck Drivers Get Qualified for Per Diem Deduction?

You must meet the following conditions to be eligible for a standard meal deduction on your taxes.

  • You must be working in the transportation industry, and your job must keep you away from home for several hours or days at a time.
  • Your job must require you to seek accommodation while you are on duty.

The Per Diem Allowance in the United Kingdom

Per diem in the UK also refers to the amount given to an employee to cover or recover all business expenses. However, the HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) refers to it as "scale rate payment." They also have maximum amounts for per diem, which differ based on whether you travel within the country or internationally. If you exceed the HMRC limits, your per diem will be subject to tax, so it is crucial to understand these rates and the specific company's policy towards them before accepting the job.

The Per Diem Rates for Truck Drivers in the United Kingdom

This section shows the HMRC meal allowance rates for domestic travel.

The Per Diem Rates Overseas

HMRC meal allowance rates also apply to travel outside the nation. While there are specific charges for trips within the UK, per diem amounts vary by country. However, since each country uses its currency, rates in British Pounds will fluctuate like exchange rates. Here are some examples of meal allowances for truck drivers in various countries.

United States of America

You can visit GOV.UK if you want to see the complete list of international per diem rates.

The Per Diem Rates in the Czech Republic

The per diem rates in CZ are determined by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. According to the Labour Code, an employee must have the following meal allowance for each day on a business trip.

It is essential to know that there has been an increase in meal allowance limits. So, the maximum amount for an employee per diem rate in 2023 is CZK 107.10.

The Per Diem Rates for Foreign Meal Allowance?

There was also an increase in the per diem rates for countries like Poland, Sweden, and Denmark. However, it only increased by EUR 5 compared to the previous rates.

The Per Diem Rates in Poland

The maximum meal allowances for domestic trips in Poland are defined by the Ordinance of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. The chart below shows what is approved by law in the country.

The Rates for Foreign Meal Allowance

The maximum rates for business trips outside Poland are defined by the Ordinance of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, and they vary based on the country.


If the employer provides meals for the truck driver during the trip or they are provided for free, the allowance should be reduced by the following:

The Per Diem Rates in Denmark

Below are the maximum tax-free daily allowances for business trips in Denmark. You can visit the Danish Customs and Tax Administration's website to learn more about these rates.

The Rates for Business Trips Abroad

According to the Danish Customs and Tax Administration, the maximum tax-free daily allowance rates for foreign trips are the same as for domestic trips. However, some countries have other rates for food allowances, including the following:

The Per Diem Rates in Germany

Employees in Germany have the same rights to per diem as those in any other nation, but it is regulated by the Federal Ministry of Finance. According to the law, only two meals per diem (small and large meal allowance) are permitted for domestic and foreign travel in Germany. And they are based on the following:

Small meal allowance: This rate is for business trips that last more than eight hours but less than 24 hours. In 2023, this allowance is 14€ for trips within Germany.

Large meal allowance: This is for trips lasting more than 24 hours and applies daily. In 2023, the large meal allowance is 28€ for trips within Germany.

Keep in mind that trips that last below 8 hours in 24 hours do not apply to per diem.

The 3-Month Rule

Per diems are non-taxable fees only if they are used for three months of continuous business trips. After three months, they are considered taxable income in Germany.

Per Diem Rates for Travels Within the Country and Abroad

For the first time in so many years, the per diem rates changed slightly in Jan 2021, and it was announced that they would also apply to 2023 rates. Below are per diem rates for both domestic and foreign travel.

For domestic trips

For foreign trips (You can see the full list here)

What Are the Pros and Cons of Per Diem Pay for Truck Drivers?

Per diem pay has become a priority for truck drivers due to its numerous benefits. However, it also has some downsides, which we will discuss in this section.


  • It is 100% tax-free.
  • It offers instant payment.
  • It lowers your yearly income; however, this can positively affect your chances of getting public assistance or lower insurance rates.


  • Per diem pay lowers your yearly income and can affect you negatively regarding loans and mortgages.
  • It decreases your retirement benefits.

Why Do Many Trucking Companies Offer Their Drivers Per Diem Pay?

Per Diem pay is among the most popular policies many companies adopt today. This is because it provides numerous benefits and a means of compensating workers for risking their lives while performing their duties. Let us look at the benefits of per diem pay to trucking companies.

  • It makes them pay their drivers lower wages.
  • It reduces their tax payments to the government.

What Are the Solutions to Problems Associated With the Trucking Business?

The goal of any transportation business is to make things easier for the firm and its employees. As a result, many companies seek solutions to their problems in order to benefit their organization.

For instance, a business may struggle to manage its toll and fuel costs. However, Eurowag offers various solutions tailored to your needs. We have fuel cards and toll boxes that make it easier to control your overall fuel costs and pay your toll in multiple regions. You can visit our website to learn more about our products.

Final Thought

Now you know about the many advantages and disadvantages of per diem pay. In the end, it all boils down to your specific needs. However, if you can afford to cover your daily expenses on your own, then it is typically advisable not to take per diem pay.