Remote work is currently one of the most popular forms of employment. Employees value the freedom to perform their duties remotely and save time, e.g. on commuting, and employers can reduce office maintenance costs. However, to perform remote work, the employee must have a workstation and appropriate equipment. It also uses its own electricity and uses its own Internet connection. This is why employers are required to reimburse remote work costs. What does the lump sum for remote work look like and what does it consist of? On what basis is it settled? Who is entitled to reimbursement for remote work?
Remote work: lump sum – how do the regulations define it?
Within the meaning of the provisions of the Labor Code, Chapter II c, Art. 67 remote work:
"(...) may be performed entirely or partially in a place indicated by the employee and each time agreed with the employer, including the employee's home address, in particular using means of direct distance communication (remote work)."
These provisions are significant for the official regulations related to remote work introduced on April 7, 2023. Thanks to these changes, the definition of remote work was not only updated, but also the requirements were definedin which this form of employment is to function. This is primarily about the rules for determining a lump sum for remote work and the formation of employers' obligations related to remote work by employees.
Remote work allowance – what is it?
When working remotely, an employee often incurs additional costs related to the equipment of the workplace, such as computer hardware, software, electricity consumption or the Internet. The allowance for remote work is a form of compensation for these costs by the employer. This is an additional amount that is paid to the employee along with the remuneration for work, however, its frequency depends on individual arrangements contained in the contract or regulations. The amount of this allowance varies and depends on many factors, such as the type of work performed, required equipment or the contract between the employee and the employer.
Lump sum for remote work – from when?
In the context of remote work, an extremely important element is the issue of reimbursement of costs related to performing professional duties outside the company's headquarters. Many people wonder when it is possible to receive a lump sum for remote work. In this aspect, it is crucial to understand that the right to a lump sum for remote work is defined by specific labor law provisions and the employment contract, but does not address the issue of when such regulation should occur. The solution to this issue lies with the employers, and the provisions of the amendment are quite liberal in this case. Therefore, the employer is obliged to reimburse these expenses, but it is up to him how he will do it, how much the lump sum will be and when these costs will be regulated.
It all depends on the specific employment contract and company policy. In some cases, an employee may receive a lump sum from the first day of remote work, in others - after a specified period of time, e.g. once a quarter or once a calendar year. Therefore, it is always worth consulting this issue with the employer or HR department so that these arrangements are clear to both parties to the contract.
What is the lump sum for remote work?
When deciding to work remotely, many people wonder about the issue of reimbursement of costs related to this form of employment - after all, the home becomes an office, which translates into, for example, higher heating consumption. A lump sum is currently one of the most popular methods of regulating expenses related to the equipment and maintenance of a home office workstation. The amount of this lump sum varies and depends on many factors. So how to determine a lump sum for remote work?
When determining the allowance, it is worth paying attention to several aspects. Above all the lump sum should be adequate to the actual costs incurred by the employee. When determining the equivalent amount for settlement, documented market prices, which determine the costs of electricity, are taken into account, among others. The lump sum should not constitute an additional burden for the employer. Therefore, when determining its amount, it is worth taking into account the interests of both the employee and the entrepreneur. Ultimately, in many companies, the lump sum amount ranges from a few to a dozen or so zlotys per day of work. However, there are entrepreneurs who even take into account the depreciation of the floor, desk or footrest - then the lump-sum expenses can increase up to several dozen zlotys per day.
The amount of the lump sum for remote work is not strictly defined and depends on the agreement between the employer and the employee. However, there is a limitation that does not allow you to pay a lump sum in the amount of the second payment - it can amount to a maximum of PLN 20% of the minimum wage.
Remote work – reimbursement of costs
Reimbursement of costs for remote work is an issue that still requires further development, but employers already have to deal with the planning and implementation of this type of benefit. However, the questions that arise most often concern not only how much the lump sum for remote work is, but also what it is for. Typically, the rules for determining the lump sum should correspond to the expected costs incurred by the employee and the actual wear and tear of individual elements that make up the ability to perform official duties.
The most frequently taken into account are:
- electricity consumption standards,
- costs of telecommunications services necessary to perform remote work,
- standards for the consumption of materials and remote work tools (e.g. technical devices if the employer does not provide company equipment and the employee performs duties on a private laptop or phone.
Remote work and the costs of obtaining income – 2023
Changes in the regulations on remote work in 2023 have a significant impact on the costs of obtaining income. On the one hand, remote work allows for savings related to commuting to work or the need to maintain a business wardrobe, on the other hand, employers are obliged to cover part of the costs related to remote work. Pursuant to the decision issued by the Director of the National Tax Administration, remote workers may benefit from increased employee tax deductible costs. Although the legislator originally provided for this tax advantage for people who, among other things, have to commute to work, e.g. to another city, a decision was issued under which people working in their place of residence can still report increased costs of obtaining employment income.
How to calculate a lump sum for remote work?
When calculating a lump sum for remote work, it is crucial to understand what costs are associated with it. The basis for calculating the lump sum there may be, for example, costs associated with the use of private equipment, electricity, heating or the Internet.
In practice, calculating a lump sum for remote work may be complicated and require an individual approach. It is worth consulting with an experienced accounting office to make sure everything is compliant with the regulations. Moreover, it is necessary to keep appropriate documentation because the entrepreneur has no discretion in granting the lump sum amount. In the case of electricity, it is necessary to determine, for example, how much electricity each device used by an employee consumes, how long they were in use and what the electricity tariff is for individual employees.
Remote work: electricity equivalent – is it income?
In Poland, according to tax regulations, electricity equivalent provided to an employee to cover the costs of remote work is usually not considered taxable income. The employer provides the employee with an allowance for electricity under an employment contract or other contract, and these benefits are exempt from personal income tax (PIT).
However, you should remember several important aspects that determine this exemption. What are these rules?
- These benefits may be provided only to cover specific costs related to remote work or other employee purposes.
- These benefits must be provided on the basis of a contract or work regulations and are intended for all remote workers on equal terms.
- The amounts of electricity equivalent or other benefits do not exceed certain limits set by tax regulations.
- The employer maintains appropriate accounting documentation and settles benefits correctly.
Advantages and disadvantages of remote work – lump sum: remote work
Remote work brings many benefits, both for employees and employers. People working remotely often notice an improvement in their work-life balance, as well as satisfaction with the possibility of flexible time management. Employers, on the other hand, can save on office maintenance costs.
Nevertheless, remote work also has its disadvantages. This may include, for example, feeling isolated by not having direct contact with the team. However, the solution to these problems is an appropriate management approach. In the case of entrepreneurs, the disadvantage of remote work may be communication problems and fear of whether employees actually perform their duties. However, in this case, there are tools that enable supervision of employees and maintaining appropriate results.
For some people, the need to pay an equivalent or lump sum for remote work may seem to be a disadvantage, but this solution is much less expensive than maintaining an office, and thanks to Open Profit, the settlement of these benefits is quick and hassle-free.
- Does remote work involve reimbursement of the employee's costs for this form of work?
Yes, taking up remote employment involves additional obligations for the employer. One of them is the reimbursement of costs incurred by the employee, e.g. for the use of electricity or the Internet.
- How to calculate a lump sum for remote work?
When calculating the lump sum for remote work, it is necessary to take into account the real costs that the employee incurs in performing his duties at home. These are aspects such as the amount of the electricity tariff or data on how much energy employee equipment uses.
- When should a lump sum allowance for remote work be calculated?
In this case, a lot depends on the contract and the company's policy. In some companies, the lump sum is calculated from the first day, and in some companies only after a month, when electricity consumption can be determined.