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Energy crisis: Who has to pay the heating costs in the home office?

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis has been the number one topic of many people. But who has to pay for the additional heating and electricity costs there? 


Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis has been the number one topic of many people. However, according to the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the energy shortage, which will probably last longer, will not only lead to rapidly rising prices, but also to changes and restrictions in all areas of life. Of course, the working life is also affected and companies are urged to save energy. For many employees, the result is to work from the home office again. But who has to pay the additional heating and electricity costs there? 

 

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Info box: What actually is an energy crisis and why have heating oil, gas and electricity become so expensive?

An energy crisis exists when the energy demand cannot be met with the available means and reserves, resulting in a permanent shortage of supply and consequently the consumption behaviour has to change and adapt abruptly.

The cause of the current energy crisis are mainly influenced by the following two facts:

  1. Strongly increased demand for electricity worldwide: Especially due to the lower gas storage levels caused by the prolonged winter of 2020/21. But also due to the increased use of air conditioning systems due to rising temperatures.   
  2. Changed political framework conditions: or a changed supply situation since Russia restricted and in some cases even stopped gas deliveries to Germany in 2021. In addition, the Ukraine war exacerbated the situation, whereby uncertainties on the markets also led to further price increases. 


 

Low-income households suffer the most financially 

Back in the home office, the challenges for many employees are increasing: In addition to the difficulties already known caused by the Corona pandemic, there is now also the major financing issue with rising energy prices. 

Low-income households in particular are burdened enormously by the sharp rise in costs, as calculations by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) show.
The evaluation clearly shows that the burden balance is highest for low-income households with plus 3.0% of net household income. However, middle households are also strongly affected with a burden balance of 2.4%

 

Relief in sight? 

At the end of 2020, the federal government decided on the home office flat rate to provide financial relief for workers in home offices. This is a glimmer of hope for low-income households. It is a pity, however, that the home office allowance has only been introduced until the end of 2022, amounts to a maximum of 600 euros and is linked to the flat-rate income-related expenses allowance. 

Employees are allowed to deduct five euros from their taxes for each day they work at home, but not more than a maximum of 600 euros per year. This means that only 120 working days can be deducted - which is not even half of the average working days per year.
Furthermore, another shortcoming is the inclusion in the lump sum for income-related expenses (employee lump sum), which is a total of 1,000 euros per year. However, due to the elimination of the commuting allowance, many employees do not exceed the limit of 1,000 euros with the home office days and thus do not save any taxes. 

Nevertheless, there is a glimmer of hope:
As os January 2023, the daily limit is to be raised to 200 days, which means that the 1,000 euros per year can be reached within the framework of the home office lump sum. In the end, it remains to be seen whether only those who exceed this amount with the home office flat rate and other expenses will benefit from the flat rate. 

 

And now?  

According to the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), the energy crisis and the associated high price phase will continue well into 2023.
Unfortunately, the additional costs for energy expenditures in the home office will have to be covered by the employees themselves for the time being. Especially in the interest of low-income households, we must hope for further supportive decisions by the federal government.

In order to plan the billable working days sensibly until then and to exceed the lump sum for income-related expenses of 1,000 euros, it is advisable to use our desksharing tool.
Thanks to desk sharing, employers can save on energy costs while still offering employees in hybrid work models the opportunity to work regularly on site. Through flexible offers like this, the burdens of the energy crisis are then at least partially shared between employer and employee. 

 

Would you like to learn more about the advantages and possibilities of desk sharing?
Then book your free demo with one of our experts on hybrid working and desk sharing.  



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