Who Should Pay Employees’s Home Office?

August 5, 20204:09 pm825 views
Who Should Pay Employees’s Home Office?
Who Should Pay Employees’s Home Office?

Remote work is no longer viewed as a benefit or a reward only a select few can enjoy – it has now become a necessity for businesses to thrive. A survey by AND CO and Remote Year found that remote work might rival inhouse work with 55 percent of respondents saying they worked remotely 100 percent of the time. There is another 28 percent who said they worked in the office and at home, while nearly every respondent would love to work remotely in the future to strike a better work-life balance. 

The good news is that remote work does benefit both employers and employees. As mentioned in the survey, remote work could improve employee experience and reduce workplace stress if maintained and equipped correctly. In turn, reduced stress and a better work-life balance make employees more productive and efficient at their jobs. 

See also: How to Hire Reliable Freelancers Remotely 

However, who will pay for remote work expenses and who will cover all the home office/equipment needed to produce a quality result as expected? 

What does remote work entail? 

Remote employees or telecommuters are individuals employed by a company who carry out the bulk of their workload while working outside of a traditional office, such as working from home office, coffee shop, or co-working space. Some remote employees might even choose to work while travelling to distant cities and locations. Despite different preferences in work location, remote workers might be expected to work at the same time as their office-based peers. In short, flexible working hours and spaces are what entails remote working and telecommuting. 

As remote workers are given the same expectations as those of inhouse employees, there should be no reduction in salary. But based on Buffer survey, the highest number of remote employees (28 percent) gets paid less than $25,000 annually, with a total of 65 percent of remote workers getting paid less than $75,000 annually. These numbers indicate that remote employees get paid less than the more traditional workers. Buffer noted that this could also largely depend on the company and the industry talents are working for. Some employers might expect its remote workers to take a pay cut and some might not. 

When it comes to daily expenses of remote working, some employers require their workers to cover their own costs. Meanwhile, some others provide their remote employees with access to a company computer. Some companies even provide a stipend to cover the costs of remote offices. 

In some states, there is already employment law that specifically addresses remote workers expenses, including who should pay for home office and other equipment needed for working remotely. California’s labour code, for example, has enacted – for several years – a law that requires employers to reimburse all necessary expenditures and losses incurred as a part of an employees’ job responsibilities, including all reasonable costs. Similar to other states, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Iowa, and New Hampshire also enacted the same jurisdictions where employers should cover employee’s remote work expenses, including communications devices and plans. Meanwhile, companies in Asia-Pacific and Latin America have yet to provide additional payments or stipend required by law for an employee who agrees to work from home. 

However, some companies in Asia are providing under their local employment contract to reimburse or provide a stipend for their remote employees. This kind of policy should be written under the company policy and should be readable by all employees. 

If employers do not have written policy regarding this matter, as a remote employee working for Asian companies, you have the right to ask and know whether your employer provides reimbursement or stipend for your remote working expenditures. To give you a clue, here are some questions you should ask.  

  • Does the employer cover internet connection expenditure? 
  • Does the employer provide a laptop/desktop computer?
  • Does the employer pay for the software you use to work remotely? 
  • Does the employer cover additional equipment, such as printers, scanners, cell phone credit, and multiple monitors? 
  • Does the employer provide a remote home office? If yes, what is covered? (i.e. work equipment, employee insurance, renting home office equipment, internet, etc.) 
  • Is there any home office tax deduction? And is working from home tax deductible? 
  • Does the employer pay for co-working space? 
  • Does the employer cover other expenses? (i.e. business travel) 
  • Does the employer still provide work benefits for remote employees? 

In any case, you should discuss a remote work arrangement with your operations manager or employer to know your rights. 

Read also: The Future of Remote Work: 4 Challenges to Solve