Remote working has become a hot topic like never before, which underlines how important it is to help employees to develop their digital skills.
An important tool in this respect is the Employee PC Program, a government-supported solution that boosts employees’ digital mindset while they are at home.
Almost half of all employees are currently working from home, and one in three of them for the first time. This is a considerable challenge for employees, as many of them have never used a laptop (35 percent), tablet (64 percent), or smartphone (21 percent) for business or private purposes, according to the results of the latest D21 study. The study also shows that half of all employees believe that their digital skills need improving. So, how can companies help with this?
Policymakers have already come up with an answer in the shape of the Employee PC Program (EPP). It was first set up in 2006 with the objective of increasing digital skills across Germany by giving tax incentives. The program is aimed at all companies and allows them to offer their employees the latest IT devices purely for personal use. It is designed to ensure that all employees have access to the latest IT, irrespective of their job function or pay grade.
The process is simple: The company leases the required hardware for 24 months and hands it over to the employee for personal use. The employee pays a monthly fee as a deduction from their pay, thereby reducing their taxable gross salary. Depending on the defined monthly fee, the benefit program is cost-neutral for the company and has zero impact on the balance sheet. It is also tax-exempt for the employee, as the government support means it is not a taxable benefit (section 3 no. 45 German Income Tax Act [EStG]). It is a win-win for both parties, especially as the devices are up to 52 percent cheaper for employees thanks to the salary deductions. In addition to devices for their own use, employees can also buy devices for family members.
CHG-MERIDIAN’s Employer Benefit Solutions (EBS) demonstrate how easy it is to set up an Employee PC Program.This customizable one-stop solution package includes the design and implementation of the Employee PC Program portal and the handling of operational processes, such as service and technology management. Employees can log into the company portal during the defined order periods and select their preferred devices. An integrated calculator shows the potential tax savings, monthly installments, and cost benefits in advance. The package also includes free delivery and support services such as a hotline, information material, and FAQs. The effort for the company is minimal. All processes are fully digitalized and automated, from procurement and handling of the financing to consolidated billing and provision of
the HR data for payroll. This results in an annual workload of only eight hours for the HR department.