Remote work, about which we have been writing so much on our blog lately, although it went into effect more than a week ago, is still quite controversial. In addition to the obligation to prepare appropriate implementation documentation, employers are mainly wondering how to determine a lump sum for remote work.
New obligations of employers
Recall that according to the amended provisions of the Labor Code, the employer has an obligation:
- provide the remote employee with the materials and work tools necessary to perform the remote work, unless the parties agree on the employee’s use of his own materials and tools;
- provide installation, service, maintenance of work tools necessary for the performance of remote work or cover the costs associated with it;
- cover the cost of electricity and telecommunications services necessary to perform remote work.
The above obligation to cover costs may be replaced by an obligation to pay a lump sum, the amount of which should correspond to the expected costs incurred by the employee in connection with the performance of remote work.
What can make up the lump sum?
It follows from the above that the final lump sum at each employer may consist of different costs.
When determining the amount of the lump sum, it is therefore necessary to first consider what its component costs will be.
Given the wording of the regulations, the lump sum may include costs:
- the employee’s use of his own materials and work tools (e.g., his own computer, printer) – if the employer does not provide the tools and materials needed for remote work;
- related to the installation, service, operation and maintenance of work tools – if these costs are not borne by employers;
- electricity and telecommunications services.
Keep in mind that the employer decides for himself which of these costs will be part of the lump sum, and which costs he will bear himself as an employer.
The amount of the lump sum is therefore largely dependent on which costs the employer chooses to include in the lump sum.
What parameters to consider when determining the lump sum?
When determining the amount of the lump sum, the following should be taken into account:
- standards of consumption of materials and work tools;
- their documented market prices;
- the amount of material used for the employer;
- market prices for this material;
- electricity consumption standards;
- telecommunications service costs.
In addition, the amended regulations stipulate that the rules for remote work or an agreement with the employee should specify the rules for determining a lump sum for remote work.
Undoubtedly, it is therefore the employer’s duty to prepare appropriate documentation to justify the lump sum paid to remote workers. It should take into account not only the market norms of consumption of materials and work tools, as well as their prices, but also the employer’s averaged consumption norms.
Why is the correct determination of the lump sum so important?
The correct determination of the amount of the lump sum and the rules for its payment ensures more than that:
- compliance with current regulations;
- transparency and clear rules for remote workers;
- but also the security of the employer.
Keep in mind that the payment of a lump sum does not constitute income under the tax law, which therefore means that the lump sum granted to employees is exempt from poln. ZUS and PIT.
The lump sum payment certainly raises many questions and doubts. Perhaps this is because there is currently a lot of information in the media about its expected amount. However, we would like to point out that, given the wording of the regulations, it is impossible to establish a single, standard lump sum for everyone.
When creating documentation to justify the amount of the lump sum, it is necessary not only to adequately describe the principles of determining the costs and components of the lump sum, but also to properly define the tools of labor, materials, correctly calculate the norms of consumption or refer to market standards and prices.
As a law firm specializing in labor law, we are pleased to help walk you through the process of determining the cost of remote work.
Paula Staszak-Urbańska, LL.M., Trainee attorney-at-law (PL)