Update your reimbursement policy to include expenses for remote workers

According to one of our recent surveys, most companies have had some or all employees who work from their home during the pandemic. In the era after the pandemic, some are now considering the option of remote work as a permanent benefit. As a result, we have been receiving many customer questions about how to adjust reimbursement policies to better address remote workers. They are asking what reimbursements of expenses are obligations imposed by laws and regulations, and what other companies are making to make remote workers productive and motivated as possible.

Reimbursements for expenses for remote workers – Obligations of the company

123] Before starting with this topic, let me reveal that I am not a attorney. As Layman, I am transmitting what I have learned from my research. Work with your legal team to give itJos on compliance with federal, state and local laws.

From a federal law perspective, the Just Labor Standards Act (\”FLSA\”) only enters into force. If an employee must pay the commercial expenses that their salaries contribute below the minimum wage Or cut into extra time salaries. Before the pandemic, it was not usual for minimum wage workers to incur this type of expense, but if you now have minimum wage employees who work from home, and are required to buy equipment, such as a laptop or a printer for Doing your job, this could comply with this standard to bring them under the minimum wage. In this case, you should reimburse your employee for those expenses.

From the perspective of state laws and regulations, reimbursement obligations are far from consistent. Only 10 states or regions (California, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, New HampShire, North Dakota, South Dakota, District of Columbia and Seattle, Washington) have statutes or jurisprudence established in the employer’s requirement to reimburse business expenses. Many other states simply require an employer to reimburse the workers consistent with the political writer of it.

Legal risks are not insignificant, and claims may result in penalties and legal fees, as well as reimbursement costs. According to Law Firm Bakerhostetler, \”expenses reimbursement judgments were already common before the pandemic, and endless sight for the pandemic and employees who work from home, employers can expect additional judgments to be presented\” .

If their remote work policies allow employees to work anywhere, it is better to learn and comply with state regulations that have the strictest and most well-defined rules. In thisCase, it’s California.

California law requires employers to reimburse workers for all expenses \”necessarily incurred by the employee in the direct performance of the employer, or obedience to the employer’s addresses.\” Because many employees were forced to work from home during the pandemic, according to this definition, companies would be required to reimburse employees by their \”reasonable and necessary\” expenses at home. These could include:

Cell Phone or PlantHome Landline Internet PlanPersonal Poweronline Conference Software and Paper HardwarePrinter Paper and pencils, notes

In some cases, these expenses are in \”mixed use\”, such as cell phone or Internet service Plans that are used by employees for both work and personal use. In this situation, the company must reimburse a \”reasonable percentage\” in LAs regulations of California. This is not easy to determine and the law is not clear about what is reasonable, so the demands are expected to be presented where there is a difference in interpretation as to what is reasonable. This can be mitigated by establishing a monthly stipend and defining what is reasonable in the reimbursement policy.

Until now, employers in the United States have not been forced to pay part of their income. However, it seems that a court in Switzerland has ruled in favor of an employee arguing that the entrepreneurship paid for a part of their rent, since the company required it to elaborate outside of their home. Stay in search of any similar tendency in the US. UU in the future.

Expenses that are a convenience, but not forced to perform work, such as updates at higher Internet speed, larger monitors, ergonomic chairs or top. The webcams DE.Line, can be excluded from this definition, depending on the tasks that the remote worker is doing. If the expense is incurred that is unjustifiably expensive, the company is not obligated to reimburse.

To avoid bad interpretations, make sure that their reimbursement policies define what is required and what \”reasonable expenditure\” is understood. SHRM provides a great example of a refund policy. (Subscription required).

If your company pays a fixed amount towards these expenses in the form of a stipend, you should allow employees to send reimbursement expenses when an employee believes that the stipend was insufficient I can cover his expenses related to work. Then, you may consider whether you want to offer an additional refund or to reject the employee’s claim.

Post-pandemic, if your company is not offering a job from the start option, employees would use office equipment and suppliesRos to perform his work. If an employee chooses to work from home in this situation (for example, they are not required or encouraged to work from home), they will not be asked to be reimbursed for typical office expenses, since all these are provided in the office.

123] How to avoid risk

In the past, reimbursement policies were mainly created to cover commercial expenses and anticipated that the Employees would use office equipment and supplies and should not buy them. If the pandemic has caused a large proportion of its employees who work from home, review their current reimbursement policy and expand to cover work from home situations. \”A well-written expenditure reimbursement policy: (a) manage expectations about what business-related expenses can be reimbursed; (b) Establish procedures that employees must follow to be reimbursnosed; (c) establish reasonable cost controls on the commercial expenses of employees; and (d) ensure that business expenses are appropriate. \”Be sure to communicate any changes or updates to your reimbursement policy.

Companies can minimize legal risks through:

Provide equipment needed for a Housing Office. Considering a unique provision so that employees create a productive start-up office .issing a monthly and standard flat refund that reasonably covers the fees of telephones and Internet access fees. Yes, during any month, the employee determines That the expense will exceed the reimbursement, they must be communicated in advance in advance to review and determine. Employees to obtain advance approvals before they make a job related to work related to work remotely that is not yet covered. For its policy of reimbursement.

So thatIt is the situation if you want to provide what is absolutely necessary and required. But, beyond, what are other companies doing if they want to keep their employees motivated if they want to work at home occasionally or full-time?

Remote work reimbursement for office benefits to ensure happy and productive remote workers, some companies are providing individual assets for the home office extras, such as lighting, ergonomic chairs and Standing desks. These assignments usually range between $ 500 and $ 1,000. If you are thinking about expanding the remote work options, consider offering a monthly domestic stipend job that may include the basics, such as Internet access costs, but can be extended to the benefits cover that office workers get free in the Office, coffee, sandwiches, team lunches, continuing education and passesOf Gymnasium. Are your employees of the Office getting sweets as massage sessions in the office? Offer a monthly massage allocation to your remote workers as well. Companies are offering between $ 20.0- $ 500 allocation per month for this type of benefits. At Salary.com, we allow employees to choose their own office equipment and spend it, or they can select a list of recommended elements that the company’s purchases include desks, chairs, foot desks and subsequent breaks. The company provides all IT equipment, including laptops, PC, headphones and video cameras. Post-Pandemic, the company will continue to provide office equipment at home to anyone who is working remotely. The objective of our HR team is to work to understand the needs of each teammate and recognize that, unlike an office, each situation of the home is different. Offer different soupRTES based on each work environment at home allows the company to reimburse the elements that increase efficiency, while creating a culture of support for remote workers. Final thoughts in the light of a change. Work environment and high expectations To be able to work remotely, take a look at your reimbursement policy. You should only cover travel expenses but also situations of \”work from home\”. Federal and state, and considers that the team your company will provide remote employees. Ask to offer allocations at one time to ensure that your remote workers configure productive work areas and do not feel excluded compared to workers at L.At home office when it comes to benefits.