‘Hey, home worker, how do you feel about your remote privilege?’

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL November 17, 2020

Photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash

So, how do you feel about your remote privilege? Is it really a privilege to work from home?

I guess, considering essential workers and those engaged in manual labour don’t have the option of staying home to work.

Anyway, those aren’t my questions. They have been thrown up by  strategists from Deutsche Bank’s research arm.

In a recent paper, the pointy-headed researchers at the Bank suggested that working from home is a privilege, not a right, and those fortunate enough to do so  should pay a tax for it (pdf, p. 32).

The argument was also made in the context of levelling up, to use Boris Johnson’s words.  The proposed 5 per cent additional tax on the income of home workers would fund subsidies for low-income earners and essential workers who are unable to work remotely.

Remote workers would also be compensating for contributing less to the infrastructure of the national economy. That’s to say the fact that they don’t travel into the city centre and don’t buy coffee or lunch to go.

The proposed levy would be paid by the employer if they don’t provide their employee with a desk, whereas if the worker themselves decides to stay home, they would be taxed for each day they work remotely.

Who knew that remote working could become a wedge issue in the search for redistributive justice?