With the relaxation of health measures, some employers have decided to reinstate the working conditions that previously existed. Others, on the other hand, have opted for the flex office to continue to offer employees the opportunity to work from home. Since telecommuting is likely to become a part of our daily lives, it is important to be aware of the employer’s obligations to employees.
Privilege or right?
It is important to understand that, given the exceptional situation, an employer may impose telework without the consent of employees in order to protect the health and safety of employees. Also, the employer can prohibit access to the office to employees who show symptoms.
Remote working was more and more present in companies even before the arrival of the pandemic. This is why in some countries, specific telework laws have been introduced.
Material management in teleworking
The aspect that raises the most questions from both the employer and the employees is the management of the equipment. Is the employer obligated to provide the equipment for teleworking or are the employees responsible for the costs?
The employer has the obligation to provide its employees with the equipment essential to the performance of their duties, such as a computer, keyboard and mouse. The employer cannot require an employee to pay for expenses that are related to the operations of the business.
However, the company is not required to pay for other equipment such as a chair, desk, printer or other office equipment, but it is advisable to provide an allowance for a “home office kit“. The employer is not required to reimburse telework-related expenses such as internet, printer ink cartridges or paper.
However, in some countries, the employee can deduct his or her expenses related to working from home, if he or she opts for a tax return with actual expenses.
Keep an eye on your telework equipment
To keep control of company-owned equipment, it’s important to identify your equipment and keep track of who and where it is assigned. To facilitate the tracking of equipment assigned to your remote employees, it is best to opt for a simple and intuitive asset inventory management software.