Questions Relating to Working from Home

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Many members of the UBC faculty and staff community have moved to off-campus working scenarios as a result of COVID-19 measures, and for most this entails setting up an area to effectively carry out job requirements in the most ergonomic way possible.

The university’s Finance and Human Resources teams have received a variety of questions relating to working from home, and the following information has been prepared to provide guidance on some of these items. 

UBC Ergonomic Resources:

  • Please refer to UBC HR’s Ergo Working from Home document for guidance
  • Contact a member of the Ergonomics Team if you need additional support—a virtual ergonomics assessment can be arranged

Loaned Equipment from the faculty/staff’s workstation:

Faculty and staff may take home the following items upon pre-approval by their immediate supervisors. Please note that the approval process will need to take into account how essential the equipment is, if equipment can be safely stored and transported, and if access to the building is available under current COVID-19 guidelines. Faculty and Staff may reach out to the Ergonomics Team to assist them in assessing their ergonomic needs.

  • Keyboard/Mouse — An external keyboard and mouse are minimum requirements
  • Monitor — An external monitor is highly encouraged
  • Office Chair or Non-motorized table top sit/stand desks (for those who use them in their everyday activities) — These items may be nice to have but may not be practical to transport or store. We encourage you to first work with what you have in your home and only investigate these options if necessary
  • Laptops/Desktop PC’s — As needed

Tracking & Returning:

  • Managers may track loaned equipment using UBC Telecommuting Guidelines.
  • If a faculty/staff member has already taken equipment, please ensure tracking is created if not already done.
  • All items remain the property of UBC so they are to be tracked at the local unit or faculty level, and must be returned to their normal place on campus in good functioning order once working from home restrictions are lifted.

Purchasing New Equipment:

UBC will not be in a position to provide reimbursement for IT-related equipment or furniture and supplies purchased by faculty/staff for use in their home.

Reimbursable Incremental Costs:

  • Network/Cellular Charges – due to additional network or cellular bandwidth required to work effectively at home, some faculty/staff may incur additional costs due to work related activities above their regular plan charges. Please submit these work related additional costs monthly through the normal expense process (consult with your local Finance representative for coding if required).

T2200 Tax Form and Guidance:

The T2200 tax form relates to Declaration of Conditions of Employment and enables employees to deduct home-based work expenses when filing their income tax returns.

The university does not generally issue T2200 forms, as the requirements for employees to deduct home work space expenses are rarely met. As we follow the guidance of the Canada Revenue Agency, there is currently no plan to change our practice. The guidelines of the CRA are as follows:

"To deduct home work space expenses for income tax purposes employees must be required by their contract of employment with UBC to work from home and directly pay for those expenses without reimbursement from UBC. Furthermore, one of the following conditions must also be met:

  • The work space must be where the employee principally (more than 50% of the time) performs their employment duties.
  • The work space must be used exclusively by the employee to earn employment income and be used on a regular and continuous basis for meeting customers or other persons in the ordinary course of performing the duties of employment."

More information on claiming employment expenses is available on the UBC Finance website. We will continue to monitor the situation for any change, and will provide an update if any further guidance is provided by the Canada Revenue Agency.