What are home office expenses allowance working and calculation

Home office expenses for the employer

The coronavirus pandemic has made the home office the reality of many companies, however, this work model already existed and has been supported by law since 2017. According to Law No. 13,467 of the labor reform, work performed outside the company is classified as telework and has the same rights and duties as a traditional CLT contract .

Thus, pursuant to art. 2 of the CLT clarifies, the employer has the obligation to cover the expenses of your business . This means that, if the employee has any expense to perform the service at home, it must be reimbursed by the organization.

This definition assumes that the company has a reduction in expenses in the workplace , such as electricity, internet and water. However, these expenses do not cease to exist and the employee is the one who ends up paying the bill, as they are using their own residence as an allocation for their activities.

Thus, any extraordinary expense that the employee may have due to the activity performed is defined as expense with home office work. Therefore, an internet value greater than what occurred before the start of the home office must be considered an extraordinary expense, therefore, it must be reimbursed by the company . The same goes for electricity, water and infrastructure expenses.

In addition, the labor reform also determines that the employee and the company must negotiate, by mutual agreement , the responsibility for the acquisition, maintenance or supply of technological equipment and the infrastructure necessary to provide the remote service.

The law, however, does not impose strict guidelines on how this costing should occur and requires the parties to negotiate. Thus, the home office work contract must formalize the agreement , specifying which expenses will be the responsibility of each party and which are considered reimbursable.

How does the allowance work?

Although the law determines that expenses must be covered by the company, in practice, variable expenses, such as electricity and water, are not so easy to be directly measured.

Thus, so that these expenses do not fall on the employee’s back, it is possible to create a expenses allowance policy . It is worth noting that the allowance is not part of the salary, therefore, it is free of charge.

What defines this assistance is the employment contract , therefore, if your employee has moved from the allocated regime to the home office and does not yet have a signed telework agreement, it is necessary to create a contract specifying the guidelines for the allowance and how it will be carried out reimbursement of expenses.

How to calculate home office amount?

To calculate the allowance amount, the company must pay attention to three main expenses: electricity, telephone and internet. These bills will not be paid in full by the organization, so it is important to know how to compute the amounts correctly in order to have as little impact as possible on the business.

In the case of electricity, it is possible to make an average of expenses in the last six months for the period in which the employee was not working remotely and compare with the current moment. However, it is important to consider that there are fluctuations due to regional policies , such as different flag applications.

Another way to arrive at the value is by calculating the expenses in kilowatts of the equipment used for the activities , such as notebooks and other equipment. So, imagine, for example, that a notebook consumes, on average, 0.05 kW per hour. In that case:

  • 0.05 kW x 8h daily x 21 working days = 8.4 kW monthly;
  • 8.4 kW monthly x R$0.62 (average expenses for kW in São Paulo) = R$5.28 monthly.

Thus, when considering the expenses per kW in each state and the average time of use for each piece of equipment, including light bulbs, it is possible to arrive at an average value on the employee’s expense.

For phone calculation the task is simpler. That’s because it is enough to identify in the line statement which calls were made for the job and the amount charged for each one.

In the case of fixed internet, HR can compute the value according to the employee’s use . For this, it is necessary to divide the monthly contract amount into hours worked and the company will be responsible for paying the expenses related to the employee’s total work period.

By doing all of these calculations, you can either come up with a monthly average of amounts and create a fixed allowance amount or implement a month-to-month refund policy .

Infrastructure assistance

In addition to the allowance for electricity and internet, the company must also help the employee by offering the equipment and furniture essential for their work. In this case, once again, what is agreed in the contract is valid.

Some organizations choose to lend the equipment free of charge to the employee and, in these cases, it is prudent to define a clause of responsibility of the employee for the material provided.

Now, if the employee needs to use their own equipment, an allowance can also be established to cover the depreciation of the items .

Regardless of the mutually agreed decision, it is important that HR pays attention to this point, because the use of inappropriate equipment and furniture can generate ergonomic problems and increase the team’s stressful situations .

As we have seen, remote work has become the reality of countless companies due to the pandemic and the situation has brought a new demand for HR, the home office expenses. Thus, in addition to complying with legislation and ensuring adequate allowances, it is important that the department also seek strategies to help improve the quality of life and productivity of employees during this delicate time.

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