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Switzerland’s Top Court Requires Companies to Pay Share of Rent for Employees Working From Home

by Eben Diskin May 29, 2020

People who have always wanted to work from home are finally getting what they wished for, and the new remote workers that are located in Switzerland are even getting a little more than expected. Switzerland’s top court has ruled that companies who expect their employees to work from home are required to contribute to part of the rent.

In a case of an employee who worked from home vs. an accounting company refusing to contribute toward rent, the court found that a monthly compensation of around $154 was justified. Thomas Geiser, a professor of labor law at the University of St. Gallen, was not surprised by the verdict, telling the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger that the “law obliges employers to reimburse their employees for all expenses incurred to carry out their work.”

The company had argued that it was not responsible for the rent payment because it had not agreed to the arrangement in the hiring contract. The court, however, rejected this argument, even saying that employees could recoup rent costs after departing the company.

At a time when working remotely is likely to become more commonplace, this ruling could set an important precedent for remote workers in Switzerland. It does not, however, apply to employees who work from home voluntarily — only those who are required to do so by an employer.

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