Home internet is now a work requirement for workers working from home or remotely. Employers should be subsidizing this as a work expense.
Nicole Edwards is an audio journalist who tells stories about health, tech and equity. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Ryerson University, and is the founder of Mango Park, a podcast production company elevating the work of womxn and BIPOC creators. She can be found on Twitter.
Home internet is required to complete the work-related tasks for many staff members on our team. As we continue to work from home or adopt hybrid models of work, it is no longer accurate to categorize home internet subscriptions as a personal choice. Instead, they should be considered a work requirement. Similar to policies around mileage or gas reimbursement for work-related car trips, home internet should be subsidized.
The digital divide is a growing issue in North America, where those who do not have consistent access to the internet endure the compound effects of going without it -- including lower access to employment. Difficulty affording home internet should not stop anyone from working with our company. A stipend shows that the organization values the contribution of employees from all socioeconomic backgrounds. It also demonstrates that the company doesn’t assume paying for home internet is a negligible expense for everyone on staff.
This measure will especially support women and racialized staff members, who are more likely to experience barriers to affording home internet than other staff members. This is attributable to disparities in income, which further emphasizes the company’s responsibility to ensure staff are compensated for home internet use. Failure to do so can be seen as equivalent to a pay cut.
We are requesting: