Do Employers Have to Provide Equipment for Remote Work?
If you are one of the millions of employees worldwide that now works remotely or under a hybrid model, you’ll know how important a good home office setup is. Whether you’ve been working from home throughout the pandemic or have just started recently, it can be intimidating to know where to begin when setting up your workspace. Your first instinct may be to ask your employer for help, which begs the question: who is responsible for providing equipment for remote workers?
Let’s first remind ourselves of what constitutes remote work equipment. This is anything necessary for a remote worker to complete their job effectively. Equipment could include:
- A laptop or desktop computer
- A mobile phone
- A high-speed internet connection
- A desk
- A chair
- Ergonomic equipment, such as keyboards, hand rests, and specific chairs
Does my employer have to provide equipment to work from home?
There is no universal answer to the question of whether employers are bound to provide equipment for remote workers. It depends on a number of factors — local laws in the country your workplace is based, your organization’s guidelines, your line of work, and many more.
For example, in the U.S. state of California, Section 2802 of the California Labor Code requires employers to reimburse their employees for the reasonable and “necessary” expenses they incur in direct consequence of discharging their job duties. You should check with your local citizen’s information to determine what your employer may be responsible for.
Generally speaking, your employer has a duty of care to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of all of their employees. However, they do not have a responsibility to cover the costs of your remote work equipment or provide it themselves. Depending on your employer, they may provide everything you need for your home office, or just the essentials, like a laptop. Some may not provide the equipment but may reimburse you for the cost of purchasing the equipment yourself.
There are other ways that employees can get the costs of their work-from-home equipment covered. In Ireland, for example, remote employees may be able to claim tax relief on the additional costs of working from home, including broadband. Check with your local tax office to see if you may be entitled to a tax break as a remote employee.
It’s important to remember that, even though your employer may not provide you with equipment to work from home, they cannot discriminate against their employees depending on their location. This means that if your organization has some employees working in the office and others from home, those in-office cannot receive special treatment, like promotions or extra support, compared to those working remotely. Be sure to raise any concerns you may have with your manager or your HR department.