Aiken PR

The Briefing

One in Five NI Employees Seeking Help Towards Utilities

by Aiken PR


Rising household energy costs have seen employers coming under increasing pressure to provide additional support to employees who are working from home.

A recent survey undertaken by law firm O’Reilly Stewart, in partnership with employment law training provider Legal Island revealed that almost one in five employees are seeking payment towards energy and heating. As utility costs are expected to rise further in the New Year these numbers are expected to increase dramatically following the Christmas break.

Commenting on these findings O’Reilly Stewart Commercial Director Seamus McGranaghan said, “The current cost of living crisis is undoubtedly putting financial pressure on people right across society. Employees working from home are facing higher costs on heating and electricity while businesses are incurring lower costs due to many staff availing of the hybrid working system. Staff working from home are calling for support from employers to ensure that they are afforded the same benefits as employees who are working in the office.”

A number of options are available including additional salary or bonuses and reimbursing the employee or making a loan to staff. However, these methods can be problematic and can present tax implications for the employee as Seamus points out.

“Additional pay and reimbursements will be treated as earnings for tax purposes and there will be no relief or easements available, despite the purpose of this payment. Making a loan appears to be the most tax effective way to assist employees during this challenging time as there are no tax implications if the loan is capped at less than £10,000. Employers can agree repayment with the employee on agreeable terms or they can write the loan off at a later date.”