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Is it time for a telecommuting reimbursement policy?

With so many employees working remotely these days, it may be time to consider adding a policy to your Handbook to help determine what expenses should and should not be covered when employees are expected to work from home. Expenses that may be incurred as a byproduct of working remotely can include internet access, cell phone use, laptops, printers, and even basic supplies like ink cartridges, pens, and paper.

According to SHRM, there have been multiple independent surveys conducted regarding the state of remote work which indicated more workers will continue to work from home permanently, yet there are few companies putting policies in place to support the ongoing cost to perform the essential functions of the job in a remote capacity. In addition, a portion of those surveyed, were spending upwards of $200 out of their own pocket to purchase essential equipment to get set up to work remotely. While there is no federal requirement to provide reimbursement for remote expenses (with exceptions) there are several states that do require employers to pay for such expenses, so it may be worth checking your local mandates.

Companies should be readily adapting to the evolution of the hybrid workplace and implementing a telecommuting policy that outlines the procedures, expectations, and items eligible for reimbursement for performing work remotely, whether it be temporary or long-term. A policy of this nature can provide both the company and employees with guidance and help establish shared agreements, expectations, and boundaries.

If you are curious about how your company can begin to adapt to the future state of work and its remote workers, please contact us to learn more about adding a telecommuting policy to your handbook.

Lindsay Bradley, MBA, MSML, is a consultant with the HRinDemand team, a human resources company in Reno, NV, offering expert guidance and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses with employment regulations, compliance, employee relations, and company growth. 

Sources:

Society for Human Resource Management. (2020, Sept 11).  Is It Time for Employers to Reimburse Remote Workers’ Expenses? https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/employers-may-overlook-reimbursing-remote-work-expenses.aspx

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