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    Do we have to reimburse the costs of computer (cover) glasses?

    An employee wants to purchase computer glasses because his eyes hurt from looking at a computer screen. Do we have to reimburse the costs of these glasses?

    Computer glasses – as evident from the name – are meant to help people look at a computer screen when regular glasses no longer suffice. Article 5.11 of the ‘Arbobesluit’ (Working Conditions Decree) states that every employee who must do work behind a computer screen is entitled to undergo examination of the eyes and eyesight prior to and on set times after doing such work. If an employee develops eye complaints during work as a result of staring at a computer screen, (s)he must have the opportunity to undergo such an examination again.

    Optician

    If the examination concludes that an employee needs computer glasses, the cost of these glasses must be reimbursed. In principle, obligations stated in the ‘Arbowet’ (Working Conditions Act) may not lead to incurred costs for the employee. This means that the employer must bear the costs of any computer glasses, provided that it is a reasonable amount. In order to regulate the use of computer glasses by employees, we recommend you lay down any agreement pertaining to the conditions in a settlement. This settlement will then also state who will do the examination, e.g. a certified optician or the health and safety department.

    Insurance

    To avoid having to reimburse high costs, a maximum amount to be reimbursed can be included in the settlement, for example € 250 exclusive of VAT. The settlement can also include agreements on how often you will reimburse computer glasses – for example once every three years – and the condition that employees may only use the glasses during work hours. Furthermore, it is important to be aware of the fact that an employee’s health insurance sometimes covers (part of) the costs of purchasing computer glasses. You can ask your employee to check if this is the case. If so, you can decide not to reimburse the part of costs covered by insurance.

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