The tax authorities have restricted the automatic travel expenses for new WUR staff during the corona crisis. Uncalled-for bureaucracy, says the WUR Council.
In June, the tax autorities decided that WUR employees whose contract came into effect after 12 March, are not eligible for a fixed compensation for commuter travel. The reason being that the government encourages working remotely as a result of the corona pandemic. New employees that choose to come to the office anyway must now register and claim their expenses per incident. Moreover, long-standing employees are no longer permitted to exchange salary or vacation days for extra travel compensation through the Optare system.
Daniël de Jong, interim chair of the WUR Council, considers the decision undesirable and ineffective. ‘On the one hand, the government spends billions to retain employment; on the other hand, they economise on a few hundred euros a month in travel expenses.’
The WUR Council has requested additional information from the WUR HR department. It intends to call for a lenient approach to travel expenses in the next executive board meeting. ‘This policy increases the inequality between staff members’, De Jong states. ‘The majority of the employees receives a fixed sum fort heir commute, while only new employees must specify their travel expenses. I won’t be at all surprised if this requires WUR to have an extra administration. This policy is needlessly complex.’ WUR spokesperson Annet Blanken says WUR ‘wishes to accommodate new employees who incur travel expenses with a relatively simple declaration form’.