Teleworking and meal vouchers: towards pay inequality? – EconomyMorning

On March 10, 2021, the Nanterre court made the following conclusion: companies have no obligation to issue restaurant vouchers to teleworkers. A decision that seems to contradict the Labor Code. But as the government increasingly pushes companies and employees to favor teleworking, is a gap growing between employees forced to stay at home and those allowed to go to their place of work? The decision of the Nanterre court On March 10, 2021, the Nanterre court (Hauts-de-Seine) ruled in favor of the UES Malakoff Humanis, a company that refused to distribute meal vouchers to its teleworking employees since March 17, 2020: “teleworkers, in the absence of additional costs linked to their catering outside their home, cannot claim the allocation of restaurant tickets”. Does this legal decision put an end to the financial assistance provided to teleworkers? Even if the court recalls that “teleworkers benefit from the same legal and contractual rights and advantages as those applicable to employees in a comparable situation working on the premises of the company” (article 4 of the National Interprofessional Agreement relating to teleworking, July 19 2005), he specifies that “in the absence of additional cost linked to their catering at home”, the employees being teleworking, “would not benefit from the same rights and legal and contractual advantages as the employees working on site”. Restaurant vouchers: what about the principle of equality between employees? Since March 2020 and the first confinement, companies have not been aligned with regard to the coverage of professional expenses of employees working remotely. Many questions arise about the reimbursement of the costs generated by this practice: internet connection, telephone package, heating, electricity, etc. Additional costs that employees have been facing for a year now. If for the unions, the assumption of these expenses makes sense, the companies are not all of this opinion. And yet, “one of the founding elements of salaried employment is that the employer provides the tools and possibly the workplace. Normally, all the costs of teleworking must be borne by the company, since we do not do not ask the question when you go to work in a company, “says Francis Kessler, lawyer and lecturer at the University of Paris-I-Panthéon-Sorbonne. But what about meal vouchers? For employees who already benefited from it before the first confinement, the law is clear: they will be able to continue to receive it even when working from home. All the more so as the labor code specifies it: “the teleworker has the same rights as the employee who performs his work on the premises of the company”. Therefore, from the moment employees working face-to-face receive meal vouchers, their teleworking colleagues are also entitled to them. However, for employees who normally have subsidies in company restaurants, the labor code in no way obliges them to finance meal costs by teleworking. Teleworking: a rule imposed by the government Faced with a certain weariness, the government published on January 29, 2021 a new version of the health protocol, allowing employees to return to their workplace one day a week, “when they express it. the need, with the agreement of their employer “. Because the Ministry of Labor keeps saying it: teleworking is an obligation within companies to contain the spread of the virus, when possible. Jean Castex and Elisabeth Borne regularly invite companies to play the game. During a press conference on February 4, 2021, the Prime Minister, who recognizes that the rule of 100% recourse to telework is no longer followed as much as at the start of the health crisis, emphasizes that it is a “very powerful lever” and a “long-term stake” to counter the Covid-19 epidemic.