UNISON Wales has been in ongoing discussions with employers at local and all Wales levels, and also with Welsh Government Ministers, seeking agreement that all staff who are required by their employer to work from home, should be paid an allowance by their employer to cover the extra costs incurred by home working.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 homeworking has become the norm for many UNISON members working in the public services and employers are able to pay employees up to £6 a week tax-free to cover additional costs if they have had to work from home since 6 April 2020.
Employers can make the tax-free payments to help employees cover reasonable additional expenses incurred while working from home.
The HMRC accepts that an employee is working at home when it is regular and or follows a pattern.
Employers can look to support their staff by paying e.g.
- £6/week for weekly paid employees.
- £26/month for monthly paid employees.
Many of our members are experiencing real hardship during this pandemic and this can be exacerbated by the extra costs incurred from working at home
Payment of a homeworking allowance would help thousands of UNISON members, who are frontline workers, and who have worked continually through the coronavirus pandemic.
Informal working at home, which is not by arrangement, does not count as homeworking.
UNISON Wales has been talking to individual employers such as Health Boards, Local Authorities and with National Employer Organisations such as the Welsh Local Government Association. To date, no public sector employer has agreed to make this payment, arguing that they do not have the finances available to cover the costs entailed. So, UNISON Wales is now in discussions with the Welsh Government, through the Workforce Partnership Council, and is campaigning for them to make financial support available to all Public Sector employers to fund this homeworking allowance payment.
If UNISON Wales cannot secure the appropriate support from Welsh Government, then we will have further discussions with our representative in all our service group areas to consider what further action we can take to support our hard pressed members.