LAWLINK – Remote working concerns

Q: The company I work for is transitioning from working in the office to working from home. They are providing the computer equipment and an internet phone. But is the company supposed to pay part of my heating/electrical/internet service? Is there anything else they should be doing for me as I will be working from my spare room for the foreseeable future?

A: There is no requirement that your employer pays you a work from home allowance, although some employers do make such a payment.

If they do pay you an allowance, the first €3.20 per day is not subject to income tax (be it PAYE, PRSI, etc.). Any sum over that €3.20 per day is subject to tax.

If no allowance is paid, you can claim up to 30 per cent of the cost of heating, electricity and broadband from the Revenue Commissioners for the days spent working from home .

You cannot claim for days that you were in the office, or for weekends or holiday leave. You should also bear in mind that you can claim back tax for 30 per cent of the electricity, heating, and broadband costs for 2022 and 2023 if you were working from home.

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The rules were different in previous years, you can only claim 10 per cent of electricity and heating costs and 30 per cent of internet costs for 2020 and 2021.

You may need to furnish receipts to the Revenue Commissioners to prove the sums claimed by you. Clearly, if someone else in your household is also working from home and has been making a claim, you may not be able to claim again.

Apart from any allowances, your employer has a duty to ensure that your place is work safe – even if you are working from home. They may have to carry out a risk assessment or other investigations. If you feel that a desk, chair, or other office equipment is required to maintain your health and safety while working from home, you should point this out to your employer.

You should also be aware that you are entitled to make a formal complaint to the Health and Safety Authority. If your working environment has caused an injury, you may also be entitled to bring an action for compensation against your employer. In that regard, there are strict time limits in place – essentially two years from when you became aware of the injury.

You might also be eligible to work from a remote working hub. You should check with your employer and with