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Unions demand better compensation to work from home


Current compensation for higher education staff working from home varies widely. Unions want the collective labour agreement to include a standard allowance of two euros per working day, excluding the costs of a home workstation.

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A recent survey (in Dutch) by the General Union of Education (AOb) revealed that some universities of applied sciences are currently giving their staff an allowance of 25 euros (after taxes) per month for internet expenses, while others are offering double that amount. There’s also an institution where the staff isn't getting anything extra at all.

Last year, many universities of applied sciences disbursed a one-time payment, but that too varied widely: between 100 and 200 euros. An earlier comparative study (in Dutch) was carried out by SaxNow, the news website of Saxion University of Applied Sciences.

Two euros
“There’s a considerable amount of money involved”, AOb board member Douwe van der Zweep is quoted as saying on the Union’s website. Up until now, all attempts to add a clause regarding a 'working-from-home' allowance into the collective labour agreement have failed.

In Van der Zweep’s opinion, everyone working at a Dutch university of applied sciences should be getting such an allowance, worth two euros a day. That’s also the amount advised by the National Institute for Budget Information Foundation (Nibud), excluding ICT, telephone and commuting expenses.

When it comes to research universities like UU, it also depends a lot on where you work, according to Jan Boersma, board member of FNV Teaching and Research. While it’s true that everyone is getting a compensation of at least 25 euros a month for Internet charges despite the number of working days, there are also universities that pay thirty or forty euros, sometimes in addition to a one-time payment, which also varies.

Boersma predicts that academic personnel will also be working from home more frequently after the coronavirus crisis. All the more reason to include dedicated language in the collective labour agreement. Their proposal is for two euros a day, just as it is for staff in the universities of applied sciences. “That allowance is in addition to commuting expenses, and the costs of computers, telephone and good internet. We’re also proposing that the employer takes on the same health and safety responsibility for the home workstation as on campus”.

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