Compensating for teleworking costs only with salary supplements can generate inequalities between workers
The Remote Work Observatory (OTaD) published a study, which had the participation of ADAMS Formación among other entities, on the compensation of expenses and the provision of the necessary equipment to teleworkers in which the fiscal effects are also analyzed implied by the adoption of the remote model. The document aims to serve as a guide in the collective bargaining of the agreements that will take place over the next few months and also to contribute to the improvement of the Royal Decree Law on Remote Work which will be treated as a bill in the Congress of deputies. The OTaD is therefore attempting to propose recommendations on one of the aspects of the new regulations that raises the most doubts among workers and companies, such as compensation for expenses. The questions arise because, although the standard clearly indicates that the employer is responsible for the equipment and maintenance of the equipment, the quantification of “means, equipment and tools” as well as the cost compensation model are sent. collective bargaining. The inconsistency of this aspect, added to the fiscal effects of some of these models, opens the door to marked differences between face-to-face and remote workers and the basic conditions of job security and quality are not guaranteed. .
In an attempt to limit these risks, the document prepared by the OTaD identifies the factors to be taken into account in collective bargaining (company size, sector, geographical location, etc.) to ensure that teleworking agreements protect workers’ rights and promote the economic sustainability of the model. These recommendations were specifically designed for small businesses where formal worker representation is less frequent, which could make it difficult to reach balanced agreements. For the OTaD, facilitating teleworking in SMEs is the best way to promote the success of the remote working model at the Spanish level, since most of the national commercial fabric is made up of small companies.
The OTaD proposal
The OTaD proposal is based on the idea that offering a closed model of remuneration and staffing to all companies would be inefficient and counterproductive, as it would amount to giving a homogeneous response to the different realities of different organizations and workers. This is why the Observatory proposes that remuneration and allowances be adapted to the intensity and frequency of teleworking and that the cost they entail be in a range instead of being a specific figure. The minimum of this range will be fixed by the average cost of living of the place where it will be practiced and the maximum will be established by the average cost of the same worker during the three preceding years of work on site.
For cases where teleworkers work from their private home, the ODAD proposes to make a fixed allocation at the start of the remote representation which will be supplemented by a variable contribution depending on the time spent working remotely (example: initial allocation in computer and ergonomic chair + salary supplement of 50 euros per month to cover costs). On the other hand, for those who go to telecommute away from home, for example in coworkings, the Observatory recommends developing a variable contribution adapted to the size of the company and to the cost per square meter of the place where the additional office is located or shared workspace.
The Observatory also underlined the importance of seeking creative formulas to articulate the supply of material and the compensation of expenses, such as the creation of compensatory vouchers similar to those for food or daycare. This system has the advantage of facilitating internal administrative procedures in companies and, above all, it guarantees employees’ access to quality goods and services guaranteeing their health and safety.
Analysis of agreements and tax implications
The study carried out by the Observatoire du travail à distance devotes one of its sections to the analysis of sectoral and company agreements that make specific references to teleworking. This analysis shows that most companies are committed to establishing a linear compensation in the wages of teleworkers, an option which alleviates the internal administrative management but which can generate notable differences between the workers face-to-face and remote because of the constraints. tax implications and the transfer of ownership of the means of production to workers.
Based on this case, the last part of the report sets out to analyze in more detail what are the fiscal and labor relations effects of this model and others such as flexible remuneration, compensation for expenses not subject to the ‘tax or the transfer from the employee to the worker of means, equipment and tools. These indications on the fiscal effects are accompanied by a series of proposals aimed at improving legislation on remote work and regulations affecting personal income tax. The objective is for the legislative power to take advantage of the treatment of the RDL of remote work as a bill to grant more legal certainty to the model and to make up for the ends left in the negotiation of social dialogue.