Update: smartworking in the time of the coronavirus


With a ruling of April 23, 2019 (view it here) the Federal Court had the opportunity to lean over a matter of no small importance: the worker’s right to request reimbursement for expenses incurred by his household and directly related to “smart working”.

Well, the judges of the highest federal instance have come to the conclusion that a refund is due and this by reason of the art. 327a CO if in the workplace there is no infrastructure available to the worker or it is insufficient, so as to make it essential to use additional infrastructure made available by the worker at his home.

In the sentence under review, therefore, the employee who was not made available a workstation with the relative archive at the employer’s offices is recognized a flat-rate reimbursement of Fr. 150.- per month.

Trying to transpose this ruling to topical issues that have seen a good number of workers spend weeks and months teleworking, it is not possible to reach immediate conclusions, where in any case the fundamental criterion for deciding whether or not there may be a right to reimbursement ex art. 327a CO seems to be based on the existence or otherwise of a work station at the employer. What is certain is that in the case of teleworking following the health emergency, the primary objective of the employer was certainly not to save on rental costs, but rather to prioritize the health of employees.


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