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Employer’s obligation to assume the costs for spectacles worn while working in front of screens

In a recent case, the ECJ had to rule on whether or not an employee would have to accept their employer’s refusal to reimburse the costs for spectacles worn while working in front of screens.

In the case on which the ECJ ruled, of 22.12.2022 (case reference: C-392/21), an employee had requested the reimbursement of the costs for new corrective spectacles. These had become necessary because his eyesight had deteriorated as a result of, among other things, working in front of screens. However, the employer refused to cover the costs. 

The national court then suspended the proceedings and requested a preliminary ruling from the ECJ on how Directive 90/270/EEC on the minimum safety and health requirements for work with display screen equipment should be interpreted. The ECJ replied that “special corrective appliances” provided for in that Directive include spectacles aimed specifically at the correction and prevention of visual impairment relating to work involving display screen equipment. Although, eye tests have to establish that the vision is impaired in order to give rise to a right to be provided with a special corrective appliance. However, the display screen work need not necessarily be the cause of that impairment. Moreover, it is not a condition that corrective appliances may only be used for professional purposes. 

Please note: Employers can comply with their obligation either by directly providing employees with spectacles or by reimbursing the expenses incurred by employees.

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