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:

Information about claiming expenses for equipment purchased to facilitate remote working arrangements during COVID-19 measures is available on the Claiming Employment Expenses page. Please note that this information was updated on November 16, 2020.

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).

Claiming Employment Expenses:

*Updated December 21, 2020

Since March, many UBC employees have been working from home as a result of our response to COVID-19, and affected employees have been asking whether UBC will be issuing Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) T2200 tax forms.

In a typical tax year, these forms would allow employees to claim certain working-from-home expenses when filing their income tax returns.

CRA requirements for the T2200 include: an employment contract that specifies the requirement to work from home as a condition of employment, and an obligation for employees to pay for certain expenses out of pocket. In a typical year, these forms are not widely issued at UBC, as the university does not typically require employees whose contract specifies that they work from home to pay their own expenses.

Recognizing the special circumstances of the 2020 tax year, the CRA has just announced two new streamlined tax relief options for those who have moved to working from home:

  • Option 1: A simple flat-rate process that is included as part of completing the T1 general return. This special schedule will allow employees with modest expenses to claim up to $400 based on their amount of time working from home — without the need to track detailed expenses.
  • Option 2: The T2200S — a simplified application of the T2200 process that will allow staff and faculty to claim expenses with receipts using a new simplified form provided by the employer.

Updated information for the UBC community is now available on the Claiming Employment Expenses page, and more information about the tax relief options is available on the CRA website.

More information on how UBC will be issuing the T2200S for affected employees, as well as further details for the UBC community, will be shared through an update for faculty and staff early in the new year.