A survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has revealed that 10% of companies plan on reducing pay or benefits for home workers.
The survey found that 4% of businesses have already reduced pay or benefits for people who continue to work from home, and a further 13% are on the verge of doing so.
This follows recent reports that a London-based law firm employees have been given the option to work from home full-time in return for a 20% reduction in pay.
The firm that recruited lawyers who lived outside of London as additional resources during the pandemic stated: “The packages we offered were different from what we offer our people in London. They’re fully remote and are not expected to regularly attend the office. If they are needed in the office, we cover their travel and accommodation expenses.”
The justification for offering home workers reduced pay appears to be that these workers benefit from living in less expensive parts of the UK. The policy also provides for existing staff who accept the offer in line with its new remote workers.
Ben Willmott, head of public policy for the CIPD, said employers that are planning to reduce pay or benefits should “recognise there are potential ethical and legal risks in this approach.
“It could also make it harder to recruit or retain staff if people working remotely are valued and rewarded less than those who have to attend their organisation’s workplace.”
HR Team co-director, Martina McAuley, said: “Some employers are choosing to take a tougher approach to entice people back to the office after other initiatives have been unsuccessful.
“However, employers who want to offer reduced pay or benefits to their employees in return for permanent home working or hybrid working will need to consider the business reasons for this and how such a scheme would be implemented, to reduce the risk of claims for unfair dismissal or discrimination.”
She added that offering remote workers reduced pay or benefits is likely to harm morale, job satisfaction and the organisation’s reputation as a good employer, particularly given the desire for home working.