Stipends for remote work emerge as polarizing issue

As more companies choose to make remote work a permanent option, an unresolved issue is whether to reimburse workers for home office expenses, such as broadband and electricity. It’s a controversial, polarizing issue, but it also has legal implications.

Companies rushed employees to work from home at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Still, a double standard quickly emerged in remote work reimbursements, said Scott Rivers, managing director at Cerca Talent, an executive search firm specializing in life sciences, diagnostics and biotechnology in Oradell, N.J. 

Rivers said that before the pandemic, most remote employees received reimbursement for home internet and cell phone plans, especially for workers who traveled to customer sites.

“But anyone forced to work from home [due to the pandemic] did not get the same,” he said. Employers weren’t reimbursing employees for things like the internet because “they were already paying for it,” he

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