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Home office flat rate is to increase by 900 euros in winter – DGB is putting pressure on Scholz


To save gas: The traffic light wants to send the Germans to the home office. But the unions sense a cost trap - and are pushing for a higher flat rate.

To save gas: The traffic light wants to send the Germans to the home office.

But the unions sense a cost trap - and are pushing for a higher flat rate.

Berlin – Warm kitchen instead of cold office: In the gas crisis, Germans should perhaps soon be working more from home again.

But the traffic light plan has its pitfalls.

Because who pays the bill?

A lively controversy has already flared up about the distribution of the energy costs incurred.

The Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB), for example, is urgently calling for an increase in the home office flat rate, which employees can use to deduct home work from their taxes.

Gas crisis in Germany: The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) is pushing for an increase in the home office flat rate

It is foreseeable that working from home will play a greater role in Germany again, said DGB board member Stefan Körzell from IPPEN.MEDIA.

At the same time, he accused the federal government of Olaf Scholz (SPD) of inaction.

Although the coalition has promised to adjust the home office flat rate in view of the challenges posed by the energy crisis, nothing has happened so far.

“The draft for an annual tax law that became known last week is also silent on this.

That's disappointing.” But the Ministry of Economics softens things up.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) started the debate.

In view of an impending gas shortage in Germany next winter, he called on companies to save energy.

Because after Russia has throttled its gas supply via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, consumption in Germany has to go down.

In order to get through the cold season, Habeck had already prepared a gas emergency plan.

In addition to many other measures, lowering the room temperature in offices and switching off unnecessary lighting in companies could also make a contribution.


Living room instead of office: The traffic light coalition wants to send Germans back to the home office - to save energy.

© Sebastian Gollnow/dpa

Save gas: In the energy crisis, Minister Habeck pleads for more home office - but who pays?

But what do you do when it gets cold at work?

For Habeck, the solution is obvious: employees should switch to the home office.

"The energy balance is positive when the offices are not heated and rooms are used that are heated anyway," said Habeck, referring to private rooms such as kitchens or living and working rooms.




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The FDP has already signaled its approval of the plan.

But who bears the costs?

The employees?

Or the companies?

Or the state?

Home office flat rate: Since Corona, employees have been able to deduct their home office

There is already a small grant.

Since the corona pandemic, which helped home work to break through, Germans have been able to settle part of the additional costs via the home office flat rate.

For example, employees can deduct home work from their taxes with 5 euros per working day.

However, there is a maximum limit of 120 days per year.

The total amount is thus limited to 600 euros per year.

But the home office flat rate is expiring.

German taxpayers can use the instrument again for the 2021 tax return.

But at the end of December 2022 it will be over for now.

Tax return for the home office flat rate - where to enter it?

Since the corona pandemic, employees have been able to deduct the home office from their taxes.

The 2021 tax forms have been adjusted for this.

This means that the home office flat rate can be entered in Appendix N of the tax return in line 45.

Employees enter the number of days they have worked exclusively from home in the row.

If you still drove to the office during the day, you can only use the commuter allowance of 30 cents in your tax return.

The flat rate is capped at 120 days and 600 euros. 

In view of the gas crisis and the Habeck initiative, the unions are now pushing for an adjustment to the existing regulation.

In addition to an extension of the measure beyond 2022, the lump sum is to be increased in particular.

The previous lump sum of 600 euros was "much too narrow and does not meet the challenges," said DGB board member Körzell from IPPEN.MEDIA


He suggested increasing the lump sum to at least 1500 euros.

In view of the high energy prices, you can also see the pressure to act at Verdi.

However, the state is less required than the companies themselves, said the head of the collective bargaining policy department, Norbert Reuter, from IPPEN.MEDIA


After all, companies would reduce heating costs by working from home.

“The collective bargaining agreement or company agreement should regulate that the employer pays the employee a certain amount, for example 5 euros, for each energy-saving-related home office day, i.e. in winter,” demands the Verdi expert.

Home office flat rate 2021: Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) is negotiating an extension

For the Federal Ministry of Economics, the debate is far from over.

"Home office can basically make a contribution to saving energy," said a spokeswoman for Habeck.

According to the information, up to five percent of energy consumption can be saved with increased home work.

How the costs could ultimately be distributed fairly between the parties has not yet been decided, it said.

According to the spokeswoman, this is being coordinated with the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Labor and the social partners involved.

But the unions seem to be taking too long.

List of rubrics: © Sebastian Gollnow/dpa

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2022-08-14

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