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Working from home, who has to pay?

Many employees are currently working from their own homes. No electric height-adjustable desk, no ergonomic desk chair with lumbar support and no screen that is ideally adjustable in height; people have been working with a laptop at the kitchen table for two weeks now. And you can already feel it: we cannot keep this up for months.

The workplace at home often does not comply with the Working Conditions Act (“Arbowet”) and the Working Conditions Decree (“Arbeidsomstandighedenbesluit”) although that is necessary. We have previously written an articleabout this. In short: these regulations generally stipulate that the employer has to take care of the health and safety of the employees at the workplace, and in particular that the employer “provides” an ergonomically designed workplace to homeworkers. There’s the crux.

Financially, it is not the ideal time for many companies to invest in responsible home workplaces, and in addition, the Work Expenses Scheme does not make this any easier anyway.

The Work Expenses Scheme does not allow employees to receive tax-free compensation for furnishing their workspace at home. Not even if these provisions are necessary to comply with the Working Conditions rules (for example, a good chair and desk).

The employer has (only) the following options according to these provisions:

  • Making available = untaxed
    The employer is and remains the owner and lends the facilities to the employee(s). The employee must therefore return these facilities at some point.
  • Provision or reimbursement = taxed
    The employee becomes the owner of the facilities. The value of the facilities are considered to be the employee’s wages, or the employer can designate this amount as final levy wages. The latter is expensive and unattractive for tax purposes.

It is therefore an option, especially if it is expected that only during the ‘intelligent lock-down’ employees will work at home, to move desks and chairs from the usual workplace out of the office to the home workplace. Once this situation is over, the furniture can be returned. By doing so, regulations can still be complied with at relatively low costs. This is of course not necessary if the employee has already set up an adequate workplace himself. So there is a task for the employer to take inventory and possibly facilitate the needs of employees. Click here for an example of a standard letter.

Do you have any questions about this blog? Or do you have other Corona crisis-related questions? Please do not hesitate to contact the Corona Crisis Advisory Team of Valegis Advocaten.

We strive for completeness in our reporting but cannot guarantee this because developments follow each other at a rapid pace. The Dutch government regularly comes up with additions to or improvements of (new) regulations. As a result, our reports may be outdated at the time you read them. That is why we mention the date and time of posting with each message.