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Due to COVID-19, a large amount of the global workforce has shifted toward remote working. With that shift, some companies have started to change their policies to reflect the change. For example, some companies have made it a point to reimburse remote workers for their work-related expenses. These expenses have included things of various natures such as: laptops, printers, routine office supplies, internet, or even increases in power/utility bills.

Currently, there is no federal requirement to provide reimbursement for remote expenses; however, there are many businesses providing support through stipends or by loaning equipment to workers who do not have the means to work from home without them. Still, with no law requiring them to do so, some employers have already ensured the success of their “at-home” employees.

Employers who have not already adjusted their company policies after the COVID-19 pandemic should probably do so soon. Work culture is constantly evolving, with this being no exception to that rule.  Reimbursing employees for work-from-home expenses, if employers have not already been doing so, is probably a policy that companies will want to revisit, according to HR experts of SHRM Online.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) previously reported that some companies have no intention to reimburse their remote workers as they see the commuting expenses being saved as an equal trade off. SHRM also reported that in a survey conducted between August 17 to August 25 of this year: 71% of respondents’ companies are investing in means to support remote workers and 42% have already enhanced, or are considering enhancing, allowances and reimbursement policies for remote workers to include: covering phone bills, internet expenses, and home office costs.

The findings from the survey conducted demonstrate that many companies are preparing for the future of remote working staying long after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. A Sample Policy for these types of changes should include:

  • Determine what types of supplies, equipment, or costs an “at-home” employee will need in order to conduct their work remotely. These may include: hardware, software, internet modems or routers, phone and data line, printers, etc.
  • Office supplies that would otherwise be accessible in the workplace that are required for the work completed by the employee
  • Costs to be reimbursed surrounding phone calls, internet use, or any other reasonable costs incurred in carrying out the employee’s job duties.

Ensure that the information provided to the employee is clear and concise and do not inform the employee that these reimbursements will include any expense your company is not willing to pay such as remodeling or furniture for a home office.

In these new times in the workforce, it is imperative to have an HR partner who can adapt quickly and keep you and your business compliant. For more information on keeping compliant or ensuring you are apprised to COVID-19 related HR information, speak to an HR expert at Resourcing Edge.

Shellie Rich

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