Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
14 June 2024

Campus
& Culture

Unions demand better work-from-home compensation

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.

A recent survey by the General Union of Education AOb revealed that some universities of applied sciences are currently giving their staff a work-from-home allowance of 25 euros net per month for internet expenses, while others are offering double that amount. There’s also one institution where personnel aren’t getting anything extra at all.

Last year, many universities of applied sciences disbursed a one-time payment, but that too varied widely: from 100 to 200 euros. An earlier comparative study 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, attempts to get a clause on work-from-home allowance into the collective labour agreement have failed.

In Van der Zweep’s opinion, all university of applied sciences staff should be getting a work-from-home allowance of two euros a day. That’s also the amount Nibud advises, excluding ICT, telephone and commuting expenses.

Universities

For research universities, a lot depends on where you work as well, according to Jan Boersma, board member of FNV Teaching and Research. While it’s true that everyone is getting compensation of at least 25 euros a month for internet charges despite the number of working days, there are also universities that pay 30 or 40 euros, sometimes in addition to a one-time payment, which also varies. VU Amsterdam is sticking to 25 euros internet allowance per month, HRM director Renée-Andrée Koornstra explained in Ad Valvas last month.

Boersma predicts that academic personnel will also be working more frequently from home 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 as work-from-home compensation, just as it is for staff in 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 take on the same health and safety responsibility for the home workstation as on campus.”

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