Everyone should get 2 euros (R38.94) extra per day to cover working-from-home expenses like coffee, toilet paper, and energy bills, according to research from Dutch finance institution NIBUD.
Trade unions in the country have lobbied for the change, and civil servants now get an extra 363 euros (R7,068) a year for working from home.
NIBUD assumed the average person has six hot drinks a day at work for its calculation, and factored in “depreciation” of desks and chairs.
Remote working means bills are higher than usual, and more than a third of Dutch households have been unable to pay at least one bill during the pandemic.
Working from home costs staff about 2 euros (R38.94) extra per day for bills, toilet paper, and hot drinks — and employees should try to claim this money back from their boss, a study from Dutch family finances institution NIBUD said in July.
Now, civil servants in the country will receive more than R6,583 extra a year based on the research.
The institution calculated how much more it costs to work at home for eight hours a day, five days a week — and came up with a figure of around 440 euros (R8,567) a year.
NIBUD based its findings on higher electric, water, and gas bills, as well as the costs of toilet paper and coffee and tea, estimating that the average person drinks six hot drinks a day at work.
The figure includes 2.5 cents (R0.49)) a day for toilet paper, and 70 cents (R13.66) for hot drinks.
The institution also factored in the 0.01 cent (R0.0020) a day “depreciation” of a person’s desk and chair through wear and tear.
It doesn’t include costs that employers often bear, such as computer equipment, telephone costs, and travel costs.
NIBUD advises workers to “consult with their boss whether and how they can receive compensation for these extra costs.” Companies can reimburse certain costs tax-free through their expenses schemes in the Netherlands, it added.
This isn’t just theory: Trade unions have won an extra 363 euros (R7,068) a year for Dutch civil servants working from home, RTL Nieuws reported on September 29.
This is slightly lower than NIBUD’s estimates because civil servants work 36 hours a week, rather than 40, but it marks the first time that a specific payment for home working has been included in a statutory pay deal, RTL said.
The Dutch Trade Union Confederation still finds this amount too low. Four in five workers incur working from home expenses of more than 2 euros (R38.94) a day, it told RTL Nieuws.
Dutch households are still struggling financially from the pandemic: One in six said they found it more difficult to make ends meet than before the outbreak in a survey by NIBUD in August. More than a third of households said they’d been unable to pay at least one bill during the pandemic, as home-working drives energy and water use up.
This is partly because incomes are lower than before the pandemic. One in eight Dutch workers with permanent or temporary employment reported their income in August was lower than in February, NIBUD found. Among workers with flexible contracts, this rose to almost half.
The proportion of Dutch people working from home has nearly doubled, but still remains at only around one in five, according to national statistics agency CBS.