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Reimbursement for home internet

Scott Rodriques's Profile

home internet reimbursement policyWhat is the prevailing thought (i.e., do companies reimburse?, how much? is it a % of the total or a flat amount?,etc) on reimbursing off-site sales and service employees for home internet charges?

Answers

Simon Westbrook
Title: CFO
Company: Aargo Inc.
( CFO, Aargo Inc.) |

This is somewhat like the discussion we had last year on the subject of cell phone reimbursement - Given the near universal access to wifi at home, on mobile device, and at the coffee shop I don't see much justification for anyone claiming reimbursement for their internet expenses these days. There may be exceptions if a company wants someone to work at home and they need very high bandwidth for some unique reason, but generally I haven't seen any reimbursement in the smaller corporate world.

If i were one of those companies looking for ways to spend more money on extensive perks like phone allowance, parking allowance, clothes allowance,country club allowance and wanted to add internet allowance, I would do it as a fixed sum amount to simplify measurement, verification and risk of claims of unequal treatment.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Consulting CFO and Business Operations A..
Company: Growth Accelerator
(Consulting CFO and Business Operations Advisor, Growth Accelerator) |

Talking out of both sides of my mouth here:

1)I'm a fan of cutting cost. Not only does it preserve runway (or margin), but it sets the tone for a lean company in general, and;
2)In CA at least, paying for home internet is tantamount to saying "work at home" which for non-exempt becomes billable. This is evidence that can be used against you in a claim that the employee has worked over 40 hours.
3)It *is* however a loophole. It is a clear business necessity (thus permissible) and gets around all those nasty taxes (or filing & deduction nightmares) for this particular expense class. For a small, tightly held company, it is a perk you can provide yourself and your peers.

So, depends on your size and worries. Over 100 employees, I am in Simon's camp for a multitude of reasons. Below that, it is worth consideration.

Topic Expert
Marc Faerber
Title: CFO
Company: Amarantus
(CFO, Amarantus) |

I agree with Keith, as with most things it is a facts and circumstances assessment. It you need to provide it to differentiate yourself from your competitors with regard to benefits then it may be worth it. Certain class(es) of workers may be necessary to reimburse the employee to assure they have an adequate internet connection if they work from home, such as sales force personnel,etc. That said, remember once you have given it to someone it is hard to take it away. I'd suggest for whoever you provide the reimbursement to that there is a specific distinguishable reason why they need to be reimbursed for it versus the janitor.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

Over five years ago, it was more appropriate to have the company pay for home internet, but I have not seen this in the last few years. If there is a need for an abnormal high speed, I have seen a 50% reimbursement, but that is quite rare.

Steve Marino
Title: Controller
Company: National Support Services, LLC
(Controller, National Support Services, LLC) |

I think you got what you wanted from the great feedback above. By the way, I concur with all of it. I haven't seen this reimbursed in many years.

Topic Expert
Scott MacDonald
Title: President/Owner
Company: AlphaMac Resources, Inc.
(President/Owner, AlphaMac Resources, Inc.) |

I might add that should you decide to reimburse internet you keep in mind the exempt/non-exempt rules for employees. I would recommend you NOT reimburse to non-exempts unless you have ways to limit their access to your systems to their "working" hours.

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