Employees in Australia deem working from home “costly’

As the number of employees working remotely rises, so do expenses incurred that have to be covered by the employee instead of the employer, research says.
By: | November 29, 2023

While most employees in Australia are in favour of flexible work arrangements, a growing number of Australians working from home are reportedly unhappy at having to cover expenses that would have been covered by their employers before, such as pantry items, electricity, printing and copying, as well as other office consumables.  

A survey conducted by research agency McCrindle, released earlier this week, found that 53% of Australian employees felt that they had ran up high expenses that would have been covered by their employer if they had been working onsite. The survey, which saw 2,000 employees participating, saw respondents state the increase of costs, including purchasing home office equipment (37 %), purchasing, or upgrading technology devices (35 %) and higher internet or data costs (34 %).

Mark McCrindle, the principal social researcher of the survey, called the resentment over work expenses common amongst many Australian employees, as some of the expenses may seem “too small”, “hard to itemise to include on a tax return”, and “too menial to ask their employer to pay for them.” The expenses, McCrindle concluded, end up footed by the employees.

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While there has been a substantial permanent increase in employees looking to claim deductions due to expenses from working from home, Mark Chapman, H&R Block Director of Tax Communication, has said that not everything could be claimed. “Realistically, employers should reimburse employees for those costs, but typically they don’t, therefore employees’ only way of getting relief for those items is through the tax system,” he said.

With around 55 % of Australians working remote fully or partially, more employees are seeing expenses incurred due to work, according to ABC News. Yet, savings can also be found from these new models of work, research by McCrindle showed, in aspects like transport, lunches, clothing and childcare.