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The CIPD is warning employers to be careful if they are thinking to reduce pay for remote workers.
Employers thinking of paying remote workers less than those who are in the office should be aware of the potential ethical and legal risks involved, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development [CIPD].
It says such a move could indirectly discriminate against people with disabilities or long-term health conditions, in addition to those with caring responsibilities, who are more likely to be women and older workers.
Moreover, there is also a risk of widening existing pay gaps and restricting the talent pool that employers can tap into.
The warning comes as CIPD research suggests just 4% of organisations (7% in the public sector) have reduced pay or benefits for employees who are predominantly working from home. However, an increasing number of organisations (13%) said their organisation plans to follow a similar path.
workingmums.co.uk has explored this question in the past and opinion is divided, with many saying that paying remote workers less, even just because they don’t have to travel, could be unfair because it doesn’t account for the changes they may need to make in their own home to accommodate them working remotely, such as office furniture, as well as increased heating and electricity usage and enhanced broadband costs. They also argue that reduced commuting can boost productivity. A Deutsche Bank paper argued that employers who hire remote workers should be taxed because these are not contributing as much to the economy through transport and associated costs.
Meanwhile, an international poll of over 32,000 workers by payroll software and HR company ADP, including 15,680 from the UK and mainland Europe, found that 45 per cent of UK workers would be willing to accept lower pay if it meant an improvement to their work-life balance, increasing to 60 per cent when looking only at those in Greater London. Forty per cent said they would take a pay cut in exchange for total flexibility over where they worked, increasing to 57 per cent in the capital.