Author Topic: WFHers - does your company reimburse your internet partially, fully or at all?  (Read 3373 times)

jeromedawg

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Hey all your full time work-from-homers,

Does your company reimburse you for internet at all? If so, partially or fully?

My company was reimbursing fully but all of the sudden has cut that off. It doesn't make a lot of sense because they're saying they'll reimburse up to around $45 *if* you have a "business need" for it beyond what your "normal service" can cover (aka, if the current service you have is sufficient to support work activities, you may no longer expense). I'm not sure what "business need" this is beyond what normal service can cover as that seems very ambiguous. I asked my mgr and he was like "maybe if you didn't have internet before and now need it for work" - if you're a full time telecommuter, I don't see how that statement even makes sense as internet is a prerequisite for telecommuting in the first place.

Either way, I guess I have to accept the fact that the "gravy train" is over. But for full time telecommute, that seems pretty harsh to cut it off 100% - I'd imagine that it's not uncommon for companies to at least set a cap or reimburse a partial amount... what are your guys' experiences?

EDIT: just stumbled across this btw, https://skloverworkingwisdom.com/blog/are-employers-required-to-reimburse-internet-expenses-for-home-based-employees/ - I'm in Southern California. It seems like I may have rights that can be exercised... of course, whether it's worth doing so over internet expenses I don't know - it could get hairy getting into all that too I'm sure. Not to mention, probably putting a target on my back to get fired if I'm gonna bring my 'legal rights' into it. Then again, I wonder what kind of 'protections' there are as far as potential retaliation etc. Just seems convoluted either way....
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 11:41:53 AM by jeromedawg »

I'm a red panda

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Full time telecommuters at my company are required to provide their own internet and phone services that meet the minimum standard of the company.  You are issued a laptop, docking station, webcam and telephone that you would get in the office.  If you want to be able to print, that is on your own dime.

If that doesn't work for telecommuters, my company does offer relocation packages for new hires who want to move to one of our office locations.

Playing with Fire UK

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I'm reimbursed 100%, I was at my old company too (and they installed a dedicated second phone line for business use). [Based in the UK but US companies]

When my place of work was the office but I could elect to telecommute occasionally I didn't have my internet paid for.

Can you suggest that you moved to a faster internet so that you could VPN or download big files? That might be enough to get the $45. It is petty, but I wouldn't be the only person in the office dying on this hill.

jeromedawg

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I'm reimbursed 100%, I was at my old company too (and they installed a dedicated second phone line for business use). [Based in the UK but US companies]

When my place of work was the office but I could elect to telecommute occasionally I didn't have my internet paid for.

Can you suggest that you moved to a faster internet so that you could VPN or download big files? That might be enough to get the $45. It is petty, but I wouldn't be the only person in the office dying on this hill.

I asked my manager and he basically said "Look, I was having my internet reimbursed too and am not going to be able to any more" - I suppose I could try to justify needing the faster internet for the stable VPN connection and especially downloading of big files, but I'd probably have to downgrade my service first, then point it out to justify, then get the OK to upgrade. That might have to be the way to do it, which sucks. And even then, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get a full $45 out of it. It'll be *up to* $45 when over whatever your standard connection is for personal use. But if I do that, I think it'll annoy the heck out of my managers who probably don't want to deal with it... and in turn that may indirectly put a target on my back for being that one employee who always complains about something. Only way this would change is if a bunch of employees complain about the same thing like you were alluding to. The stupid thing about all this is that, at least within my group, there aren't a *ton* of full time telecommuters. Many are flex, so taking away this benefit from FT telecommuters seems like penny-pinching. Heck, they were unwilling to pay $200 for me to renew an existing cert I have. In the context of the money, these are relatively small things, but the big picture of what the company seems to be saying is that they no longer value their employees as much as they did before, at least... that and/or they're cutting costs for a huge reason (which also makes sense in terms of the company I'm at)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 12:04:22 PM by jeromedawg »

Playing with Fire UK

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That sucks. Probably better to spend the time updating the CV or being great at work then. It's such a waste of goodwill for $45.

jeromedawg

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That sucks. Probably better to spend the time updating the CV or being great at work then. It's such a waste of goodwill for $45.

Kinda one of those morale-kickers like when other companies do pizza Fridays, or bagel Mondays, or supply free food, etc. Then start slowly taking all of those things away. That's been nearly every company I've been at. Guess that's why Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc are the 'dream' companies, huh...

RyanAtTanagra

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I don't work from home but my work pays my internet and cell, because I need both for my job (I'm the only IT person here so I'm on call 24/7, and I wouldn't/didn't have a smartphone if not for this job).  We just got bought by a larger company and I'm wondering if that's going to end once they start looking deeper into expenses.  If it does I'll tell them I expect an equivalent raise, as the internet/cell is part of the package.

I agree with the above comment that it's stupid of them to burn goodwill for $45.  It's not about the money, it's indicative of an attitude/values change at the company, and as petty as it sounds, would be willing to leave over it.

jeromedawg

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I don't work from home but my work pays my internet and cell, because I need both for my job (I'm the only IT person here so I'm on call 24/7, and I wouldn't/didn't have a smartphone if not for this job).  We just got bought by a larger company and I'm wondering if that's going to end once they start looking deeper into expenses.  If it does I'll tell them I expect an equivalent raise, as the internet/cell is part of the package.

I agree with the above comment that it's stupid of them to burn goodwill for $45.  It's not about the money, it's indicative of an attitude/values change at the company, and as petty as it sounds, would be willing to leave over it.

I'm not sure if this was the company-wide policy where expensing internet was/is the norm but it seemed that was the case in my group. When I first took the position I don't recall if I knew that this was a benefit or not, or if they threw that out there as one of the givens or benefits but it seemed to make sense that this would be something included. It's not like they're having to pay for a cubicle space for me to work in, so they're probably saving a ton - I figure that's the case with any of their full-time telecommute employees. So cutting this just seems petty - pass the buck of your burden onto the employee. 

apricity22

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Do you work at home for your own convenience or for the convenience of the company? It seems like if it were for the convenience of the company and it was saving them money on office space elsewhere it would be fair to cover your internet.

I work from home and my company doesn't pay mine. High speed internet is only $40 and it is something we would buy anyway so I don't really mind. The company provides me a printer, toner, paper and other misc. office supplies which I'm allowed to access for personal use within reason so I figure that makes up for it.

Dave1442397

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I don't get reimbursed for Internet or phone charges, but the amount of money I save by working from home makes that a non-issue for me.

Gas and toll alone are between $12-$15 a day, depending on the price of gas, and I can't even put a price on the minimum 90 minutes I would spend driving.

haflander

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I'm very new to the WFH game; I just took a new job two months ago. It seems like the policy of my company is to reimburse up to $100 total for internet and landline phone (required for client calls...stupid).

The thing that throws a wrench into all of this is that I'm billed for internet and cable as a part of rent at my apartment. I asked if I could remove this from the lease to shop around for cheaper internet and/or cut cable and the apt office said no. So, I only had one # for the total cost of internet and cable and had to ask for an itemized thing to show the new company.

Another caveat is that I haven't even been reimbursed for any of this stuff so far. I asked a couple times when I was starting and they basically said, "yeah we'll figure out that stuff later or show you how to to that." I don't want to be That Guy, so I'm waiting a little longer before asking again and figuring out how to do it every month. I'm guessing my cost of internet and phone is around 60-70.

jeromedawg

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Do you work at home for your own convenience or for the convenience of the company? It seems like if it were for the convenience of the company and it was saving them money on office space elsewhere it would be fair to cover your internet.

I work from home and my company doesn't pay mine. High speed internet is only $40 and it is something we would buy anyway so I don't really mind. The company provides me a printer, toner, paper and other misc. office supplies which I'm allowed to access for personal use within reason so I figure that makes up for it.

So when I interviewed, the job was for a "full time telecommute position" - there was not really any option of going into a nearby office to work, and they seemed to discourage it. It is obvious to me that they prefer that I don't go into an office so as to help reduce costs. In fact, I asked my manager if I could have a temporary office setup if I need to and she told me that she prefers not to have to do that because it *costs money* for them to rent that space... that said, I would say it's pretty fair to assume that it's for the convenience of the company that I work from home. They're already saving on not having to rent cubicle space which is likely far more than $45-60 a month.

I think they capitalize on your "it is something we would buy anyway" statement as a means to weasel out of having to pay additional expenses. The company is going through some rough times currently but if this is where they first go for cost-cutting, it makes me wonder...

Ocinfo

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My company also just recently made this same change. I classify it in the penny wise, pound foolish category. Company has a few Billion $ in revenue and was likely spending around $250k per year on this (less than cost of 1 employee).

I think it’s mainly that high speed broadband is essentially a utility, in the same vein as electric. Several years ago, they got rid of reimbursement for personal cell phone use since most plans moved to unlimited minutes.


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jeromedawg

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My company also just recently made this same change. I classify it in the penny wise, pound foolish category. Company has a few Billion $ in revenue and was likely spending around $250k per year on this (less than cost of 1 employee).

I think itís mainly that high speed broadband is essentially a utility, in the same vein as electric. Several years ago, they got rid of reimbursement for personal cell phone use since most plans moved to unlimited minutes.


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Their justification is "per company policy, the company should not be paying for personal use of internet" yet they offer to pay up to $45 if there's some sort of justification to support work efforts... so would they be willing to install a second line in my place and foot the bill for that? How would they know I'm not using it for personal use? I seriously doubt they would allow this, so the $45 thing seems more like a way to make it sound like they're not fully taking the benefit away when they really are.
At first I misread and just thought they were capping the expense at $45 in general, but then when I re-read I realized they were saying something else. I asked my other manager to clarify what this meant and he said "basically, if what you have is sufficient for you now, you may no longer expense" - I then asked him how I could determine if what I have is *necessary* e.g. if I downgrade and find that it's "too slow" how do you quantify and justify this? He gave an awful example: "maybe if you didn't have internet before but now you need it" - how can you even dichotomize personal vs business use in that case!? And if I didn't have internet before, wouldn't I not be able to telecommute?! His answer made zero sense but I wasn't going to make a mountain out of a 'molehill'

Really, I think the only way I could potentially justify any sort of reimbursement is to downgrade to the lowest tier of internet, see if that isn't going to work when activities really start ramping up (with file transfers, desktop sharing, etc), and if it doesn't then telling my manager(s) I need to bump my internet speed up and asking for them to foot the difference under this lame "$45" policy... I'm likely going to start off by downgrading regardless, because I would never pay what I'm paying now otherwise.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 10:05:32 AM by jeromedawg »

sequoia

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Fully reimbursed up to xx (I forget the exact number). I am well below that limit so my internet is covered 100%. I just have the cheapest broadband, which is fast enough for me.

Interesting that a company would cut internet reimbursement off. I can see that if you have the option to go to work from office, then the company can say we are not paying for your home internet, so you can work from office. But then furnishing an office for a person is a lot more expensive then paying for a home internet (electricity, furniture, space, etc etc).
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 06:24:49 AM by sequoia »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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I'm reimbursed 100% for Internet and a phone line. Getting merged so it'll be interesting what happens with that.

jeromedawg

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Fully reimbursed up to xx (I forget the exact number). I am well below that limit so my internet is covered 100%. I just have the cheapest broadband, which is fast enough for me.

Interesting that a company would cut internet reimbursement off. I can see that if you have the option to go to work from office, then the company can say we are not paying for your home internet, so you can work from office. But then furnishing an office for a person is a lot more expensive then paying for a home internet (electricity, furniture, space, etc etc).


I completely understand why a company wouldn't pay for an employee's internet if they have the option to work from home out of convenience vs the office. It makes no sense what my company is doing now, other than to skimp on us with a relatively low-cost utility that we *need* in order to do our work all for their "bottom-line" - they're not in great shape but IMHO this is a form of 'passing the buck' and burden of their 'failures' onto the employee (and these 'failures' were not caused or initiated by my group/team/myself). This is pretty much no different from the company telling us "It costs us $2 a day in electricity for your monitor to be on at work, so we're going to have to start deducting that from your paycheck due to budget considerations"
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 10:25:42 AM by jeromedawg »

newton

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Not at all.  We had one lady who got it but apparently was negotiated at hire.  She is gone and no one gets it. 

BlueMR2

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Our company used to reimburse for cell phones and Internet as well as provide the computing equipment for WFH.  However, the Internet and cell phone reimbursement went away a few years ago.  Currently they're looking at restoring the cell phone reimbursement, but not the Internet...

sokoloff

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We don't reimburse internet at all.
We do reimburse cell phone plan (up to $50/mo) for those positions where we require you to participate in an on-call rotation to support your software.

RyanAtTanagra

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We don't reimburse internet at all.
We do reimburse cell phone plan (up to $50/mo) for those positions where we require you to participate in an on-call rotation to support your software.

Can they support the software without being on the internet?  ie, over the phone only?  If not, why reimburse one but not the other?

sokoloff

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We don't reimburse internet at all.
We do reimburse cell phone plan (up to $50/mo) for those positions where we require you to participate in an on-call rotation to support your software.
Can they support the software without being on the internet?  ie, over the phone only?  If not, why reimburse one but not the other?
Most cell phone plans have data and tethering and, in an emergency, they could do "IP over voice" to the network operations center.

The longer answer is that this policy grew out of our "company Blackberry" policy where, when people started to want to turn in their Blackberry in favor of their own iPhone, I wrote them a policy that was win-win for them and the company. (You can take the $50/mo or we'll give you a Blackberry that was costing us about $75/mo.)

RWD

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My company covers 100% of our internet. $80/month for gigabit fiber. I just asked nicely.

PJ

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In a previous job where I moved to WFH (the organization had added new programs and space was tight in the office, but there was no place for us to expand to) they didn't pay my internet, or any office equipment (except a shredder, for client files) though they did give us a cell phone. 

But, they did have a form they provided us every year, for tax purposes, outlining what was required for us to do our job, and what they covered.  Which allowed me to claim certain things on my income tax as necessary business expenses.  YMMV depending on where you live (I'm in Ontario) but it's worth looking into whether you can recoup some of that expense, if you're not already doing so.