Most staff think employers should bear costs of remote working equipment

Bike-to-work type tax scheme also suggested in submissions to Government consultation process

Eighty-five per cent of respondents were in favour of employers paying for equipment costs of working from home. Photograph: iStock

Eighty-five per cent of respondents were in favour of employers paying for equipment costs of working from home. Photograph: iStock

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Employers should bear the equipment costs associated with people working from home, the majority of submissions to a Government consultation process on remote working have suggested.

A number of those who made submissions suggested that a bike-to-work type tax scheme be introduced to assist in the purchase of equipment to enable people to work remotely.

However, employers argued that they should not have to buy a second set of work furniture or equipment for staff at home.

A report outlining the responses to a request for submissions on the topic of remote working is published on Friday by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar.

He has committed to introducing a new law giving workers the right to request to remote work, and said it will “set out clearly how these requests should be facilitated as far as possible”.

Most of the 175 submissions, which constituted answers to a number of set questions and associated comments, were from individual workers, though there were also submissions from private companies, industry representative groups, trade unions, and one political party.

The identities of those who made submissions are not disclosed in the report.

One of the questions asked was whether an employer should bear the cost of providing all equipment for a remote working arrangement. Of the 154 replies, 85 per cent were in favour.

Twelve per cent suggested the Government introduce a grant scheme, or a tax incentive arrangement such as the bike-to-work scheme, to help with the costs.

“One size won’t fit all,” said one employee. “Some smaller employers, for example, may wish to facilitate working from home but are not in a financial position to provide two sets of equipment.”

Such an issue should not act as a barrier to an arrangement that might work well for both employer and employee, they said.

Monitoring work

“The bike-to-work scheme has proved very successful,” said an employer. “A similar tax-efficient scheme for purchasing remote working equipment along with the employer provision of technology would assist the success of future remote working arrangements.”

Another employer said that, where the employee had requested that they work remotely, there should not be an obligation on the employer to provide a second set of furniture or equipment, and that additional costs such as heating and lighting should be borne by the employee.

“Such costs should be tax deducted and perhaps be deducted through the payroll process,” the submission said.

Eighty-four per cent of the 146 responses to a question on whether the employer should be able to monitor the work of the employee said they should.

“However, the vast majority of submissions were only in favour of monitoring to the same extent applicable in the office environment,” the report said.