A New Tax on Stay-at-Home Workers?

A New Tax on Stay-at-Home Workers?


A report funded by Deutsche Bank that examines the economic recovery from the pandemic suggests that people working at home should be taxed for the privilege of doing so, in order to pay for aid to workers who can’t avoid leaving home to earn money.

Those who can work from home are contributing less to key parts of the economy, the report says, spending less on travel, clothes, dining and other services, inadvertently pushing workers in those sectors into crisis. At the same time, they are gaining valuable benefits, including less stress from commuting and reduced consumption outside the home.  

The analysts estimate that the direct financial benefits received by stay-at-home workers are worth about $10 per day, and they argue that a tax of that amount would leave workers no less well off than if they had gone into the office. They propose a 5% tax to collect that amount from the average worker, which they say would raise something like $48 billion, money that could be used to pay $1,500 grants to 29 million low-wage workers who cannot work from home.

"For the first time in history, a big chunk of people have disconnected themselves from the face-to-face world yet are still leading a full economic life,” said Luke Templeman, a macro strategist at Deutsche Bank. “For years we have needed a tax on remote workers – COVID has just made it obvious.”