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Should my employer cover my bills if I work from home in Spain?

The Local Spain
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Should my employer cover my bills if I work from home in Spain?
Does my company cover my bills if I work from home in Spain? Photo: Julie JAMMOT / AFP

With more people than ever working from home in Spain, one of the main doubts among contract employees, autónomos and remote workers is whether the companies they work for should cover their home internet, electricity and other work costs.


The answer is a bit of a grey area and will depend on several factors, including the company you work for, whether you’re employed or self-employed or if you’re a remote worker for a company outside of Spain.


If you once worked in the office, but are now working from home all day using more electricity, heating or air-con than you would have before, it makes sense that your company should be contributing to these costs, but is this always the case?

Employed workers for companies based in Spain

The first step in answering this question is to look at what Spain's Remote Work Law says on the matter – Article 12 of Spain's Ley 10/2021, de 9 de julio states that "Remote work must be defrayed or compensated by the company, and it must not result in a worker covering expenses related to equipment, tools and other means related to their work activity”.

This seems to suggest that companies are responsible for paying bills related to work tasks, but according to Control Laboral, a website specialising in workers' rights in Spain, in practice the law is ambiguous.

They say that it doesn’t include any actual figures and doesn’t specify what tools are needed to carry out the work, even though it does seem to suggest that the companies should be contributing to remote workers’ bills.  

In order for this law to hold up, the website suggests that an agreement must be drawn up by human resources, stating exactly what the company will cover and how much, and that it must be signed by both parties for it to be valid.

If you’re working for a company in Spain that doesn’t offer any help in this regard, it’s important to talk to them to see if this can change.

If you were hired as a remote worker and they’ve never offered any payment for bills, it may be in your contract that these aren’t covered, but if you’ve been working from home since the Covid-19 pandemic, a new contract may need to be drawn up and you will need to negotiate with your employer. 

READ ALSO- Readers reveal: ‘Remote working in Spain has been a bittersweet experience’


Self-employed in Spain

If you’re autónomo or freelance and work for multiple companies or even just one, are any of those expected to help pay your bills? Again, this will really depend on the company and what it says in your contract, but generally, if you’re working for multiple companies as a freelancer, they will not pay your bills.

It’s up to you to factor this into your overheads and invoice accordingly. What you can do though, is to offset some of the cost of your bills on your tax returns. Keep in mind it’s a very minimal amount. You will only be able to offset the percentage of the bill that equates to the area you work in – your home office for example and then only the percentage of time you actually work in that room. This means that on an average energy bill you will only be able to offset €3-4, depending on the size of your office and how much energy you use.

Another unfair factor is that energy bills can only in be in one person’s name, so if you and your partner both work from home and the bills are in your name, you are the only one who can deduct them on your tax returns. 

READ ALSO - Self-employed in Spain: What you should know about being ‘autónomo’

Remote worker for a company outside of Spain

If you’re working for a company outside of Spain but live here, then your company will not be covered by Spanish laws. You may have to look at what the laws say in the country the company is based in.

Again this will be something that you’ll have to negotiate with your employer and get added to your contract, if there’s no mention of the company covering any bills. 

It may be a little more difficult for you and your company to define which and how much of the bills they will cover.

For example, unless your company states that you must be living in Spain, they may be unwilling to cover extra electricity bills because of air-con costs. They may also not believe that you need to put your heating on in winter and may need any extra help in the colder months of the year.


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