Home office pays off for employers. Let's get them to take that into account

This article was written by a member of the Initiative for Deník Referendum.

Less than a week ago, the legislators in Portugal approved a new piece of legislation, which sets the legal parameters for working from home (teleworking) and protects employees from negative effects of such work. The Czech government attempted something similar on a small scale this spring – they discussed an amendment of the Labour Law, which would define the rules for working from home. However, according to many critics the whole law was insufficient and of poor quality, and the government rejected the amendment to no one’s surprise.

Nothing regarding this topic has been happening since, in spite of the fact that work from home has become a normal part of our lives and given the pandemic situation it would be wrong to assume that we are going back to the office soon.


Working from home, which was offered as a bonus before the pandemic has now become nearly a must for most of the office professions. If current employers want to keep their employees, they will have to offer something more in this regard. And they can find their inspiration in Portugal, where it is now compulsory to compensate employees for extra costs incurred by working from home.

Given that the work-related expenses are covered by the employer, paying for work from home related costs should be automatic. And yet, most of Czech employers fight this notion and simply do not compensate their employees. The rising inflation and growing costs of energy and commonly needed goods can make the situation financially complicated for the employees.

The employers should therefore ensure their employees are not bureaucratically burdened by having to prove at length every single cost but set simple and clear company rules for the work-related costs and equipment costs compensation for work from home. Portugal also put in law a right to disconnect, allowing the workers to not be available outside of working hours. The employers now may face fines if they break the rest regime.

Good for everyone

One of the things we discovered thanks to working from home is the thin line between the private and work life, which leads to heightened stress levels and overworking on the side of the employees and more surveillance of employees by the employers. This is one of the reasons why it is now legal in Portugal to work from home without notifying your boss in advance for employees who have 8-year-old or younger children. This measure ensures more flexibility for workers, who must divide their time between work and childcare.

Research shows that the productivity of workers, who work from home is the same or even higher compared to the workers working in an office. It is therefore absolutely legitimate to insist on having costs induced by working from home compensated by the employer. How to make them do it though?

Not easily. In the Czech Republic the work from home related legislation will probably not go through major changes any time soon. Compared to Portugal lead by the Socialist party headed by the prime minister António Costa, we lack the political force, which would push for the much-needed legislative change.

With a factual absence of left wing parties in the new government it will be hard to push for any change for workers. The only thing left is to rely on the unions, through which the employees should demand establishment of rules on working from home and push for their placement in the collective bargaining agreements. We can look for inspiration in Portugal.

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