On-call duty and telework, a tax headache

By Camille FratiLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

The threat of exceeding the tolerated teleworking days weighs on border workers who may have to work from home in the evening or at weekends - but also on their employers.

Is telework a personal choice with individual consequences? Not really. In the context of the expiry on June 30 of the exceptional regime bequeathed by the Covid-19 health crisis, there is a lot of talk about the disappointment of frontier workers who have had to return to almost 100 percent face-to-face work since July 1., their frustration at the traffic jams on the motorway or the recurrent disruptions to rail traffic. However, the stakes of frontier telework do not stop at the simple question of how much it would cost to exceed the quota tolerated by the tax authorities of the frontier countries – 19 days for Germany and soon 34 for Belgium and France (see dropdown).

The threat does not only weigh on the income tax notice of cross-border employees, but also on their company, in the specific case of on-call duty or office duties, whether it is once a week or one week a month. "In companies that employ a lot of IT staff, sometimes 50 percent of them are cross-border workers, if not more", says Roberto Mendolia, president of the Aleba union, which has a majority in the financial sector. "But the simple fact of connecting to the production system from home to solve a problem at 2am constitutes work – and some tax authorities count this as a day of teleworking."

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