The transport bonus is define, generically, as an indemnity or compensation of an extra-salary nature. It consists of an amount of money that the company gives to the employees to compensate for the daily expenses incurred in commuting from home to the workplace and vice versa.

Article 26.2 of the E.T. establishes that The amounts received by the worker as compensation or allowances for expenses incurred as a result of his/her work activity, Social Security benefits and compensation and compensation corresponding to transfers, suspensions or dismissals shall not be considered as salary.

In other words, an amount does not reward your work, but the cost that the employee has to bear for the fact of working.

Taking into account the above, at first, given the lack of provisions in the collective agreements, companies opted to pay the transport bonus, allowances, mileage, travel expenses, etc. However, the maintenance of the teleworking situation due to the impact of COVID-19 and the economic consideration for expenses derived from telecommuting imposed by Royal Decree Law 28/2020, of 22 September, has meant that a large number of companies have unilaterally decided to withdraw the aforementioned bonus.

The obligatory nature (or not) of continuing to pay the transport bonus to employees who carry out their working day by means of home office has been analyzed by the Audiencia Nacional in a ruling in which it establishes that the company can stop paying the transport bonus in the situation of home office.

The Audiencia Nacional, in a recent judgment of 13 September 2021 – and in another of 30 April 2021- (the latter ruled in the same sense that the company can stop paying the transport bonus in the situation of home office), establishes that this plus has an extra-salary and final nature. That is to say, it makes no sense to maintain its payment when the condition that justifies it (travelling from home to the workplace and vice versa) disappears with home office.

The fact that companies have continued to pay this supplement to their employees and have not withdrawn it during the course of the pandemic or afterwards does not mean that it has been consolidated as an acquired right in their favor. The transport plus may be waive in the case of home office, unless otherwise established in an individual agreement.

Inmaculada Pessini

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