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Electricity refund. The employer will add to the bill. Changes in the Labor Code. Commentary by Monika Smulewicz

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We find that it costs about PLN 0.30 per hour, i.e. PLN 50 per month – this is how Monika Smulewicz, a partner at Grant Thornton and the author of the HR blog on high heels, says in an interview with TVN24 Biznes . He adds that this type of benefit should be paid in proportion to the number of days of remote work.

President Andrzej Duda signed the permanent law at the end of January remote work to the Labor Code. The regulations are to come into force within two months of their publication in the Journal of Laws, most likely in early April.

Among other things, the Labor Code definition of remote work. It is the performance of work in whole or in part in the place indicated by the employee and each time agreed with the employer, including at the employee’s residence address, in particular using means of direct remote communication.

At the same time, employees are entitled to reimbursement of part of the fees related to remote work and it concerns costs related to electricity and telecommunications (internet, telephone).

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Read more: Remote work and employee sobriety control. It’s signed by the president

How much will the employer reimburse for electricity?

Monika Smulewicz, a partner at Grant Thornton and the author of the HR blog on high heels, points out in an interview with TVN24 Biznes that “what is most controversial is that the employer is obliged to cover the costs of electricity.” In her opinion, the Internet is less of a problem, because the employer usually provides the employee with mobile Internet, which he pays for himself.

When asked about what subsidies an employee can count on from the employer, she said that “there are various calculations on the market”. – We find that in the case of energy it costs about PLN 0.30 per hour. An eight-hour working day is PLN 2.4 per day, which we multiply by 21 working days per month. This gives us about PLN 50 – she calculated.

Return in proportion to the time of remote work

In her opinion, an important element is that the employer, by reimbursing the employee for the costs related to the electricity used, will be released from public law obligations. – These refunds will be tax-free, non-contributory. And here you have to approach very carefully, because if we set the lump sum at a higher level, and not at a socially or business-acceptable level, then in the event of an inspection from the tax office or the Social Insurance Institution, the employer may have problems because the lump sum is too high – she said .

She added that another element that must be considered is that this benefit should be paid in proportion to the number of days of remote work.

– If we have the so-called hybrid work, then we should pay the employee for energy and internet consumption only for those days when he performs remote work – said Monika Smulewicz.

As she added, a similar situation will be when the employee is on holiday or sick leave. – I am in the part of practitioners who say that such a lump sum must be settled in proportion to the time worked remotely – she said.

Amounts “cannot be calculated individually”

The expert also noted that the act only mentions the reimbursement of costs incurred by the employee, without indicating their level.

– This is the bone of contention that emerged at the stage of social consultations. There were ideas to set the statutory amount of the lump sum, but unfortunately there was no agreement between trade unions and employers’ organizations. Employers wanted less and unions wanted more. Therefore, the legislator left this issue to be clarified at the company level – she explained. She added that then the amounts of PLN 100 and PLN 120 were discussed as part of the lump sum for electricity.

Monika Smulewicz also noted that the amounts “cannot be calculated individually for each employee, because employees will not set up separate counters for company computers”.

– Energy costs are more or less at a similar level in our country for everyone. Therefore, employers should calculate the cost of electricity per employee’s working hour, she said, adding that such arrangements should be included in the remote work regulations.

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Main photo source: Shutterstock

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