Work from Home Program

man sitting at desk

The University of Alberta is committed to providing a safe, inclusive and supportive work environment for employees. In appropriate circumstances this can include opportunities to work from home.

The Work from Home (WFH) Program provides employees the flexibility to work from home while maintaining the necessary level of productivity, engagement and performance required by the university.

Requests to work from home are formalized through a Work from Home Application Form.

Who is Eligible for the Work From Home Program?

Eligibility for the WFH program is outlined in the Work From Home Program Guide.

Implementation of the WFH program will occur in phases due to the expected volume of applications. Employees in the following categories are eligible to apply for the WFH program during Phase 1 and 2:

  • Management and Professional Staff (MAPS)
  • Excluded Support Staff
  • Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA)
  • Administrative & Professional Officers (APO)
  • Temporary Librarian and Administrative & Professional Officers (TLAPO)
  • Trust/Research Academic Staff (TRAS)

How to Apply for the Work from Home Program

  1. Review the Work from Home Program Guide and assess whether your role is eligible for consideration.
  2. Complete the Work from Home Application Form and submit it to your manager/supervisor.
  3. Your supervisor will meet with you to discuss your application and assess the feasibility of the proposed agreement. Your supervisor will consider all work from home requests in good faith.
  4. If your supervisor deems that a WFH request is feasible, they will forward your application to the senior manager for review and approval.
  5. If approved by the senior manager, your supervisor will work with you to finalize an agreement outlining the conditions of working from home.
  6. Your supervisor will provide you a copy of the agreement and ensure the agreement is placed on your personnel file.

Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 are in effect and applications can be accepted at any time.

Timelines may be subject to adjustment at the university's discretion depending on the number and complexity of the applications and surrounding circumstances.

After the outlined intake process, applications may be submitted to a supervisor at any time, and considered thereafter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Work From Home (WFH) Process

Can I refuse to return to campus?

No. However, employees who are unable to return to in-person work or require alternate work accommodations due to their own personal health conditions may seek accommodation through the university’s regular Employee Recovery and Return to Work processes.

If you have concerns about returning to campus, discuss them with your manager/supervisor. Information on work refusals can be found at Right to refuse dangerous work.

My manager/supervisor has advised me that I need to work on campus and I want to work from home. Can I work from home?

No, if you are requested to work on campus by your manager/supervisor, you must do so unless you have been approved for medical accommodation.

Can I work from home once in a while without a formal WFH agreement?

Yes. The Work From Home application is intended to formalize longer term arrangements, not occasional or ad hoc situations. It is recommended that you address occasional work from home requests directly with your manager/supervisor.

My employment category is not listed in the WFH Application Form. Am I eligible to participate?

No, not at this time. The WFH Program is launching in phases and announcements will be made if there are changes to eligibility. Occasional work from home requests should be discussed directly with your manager/supervisor.

Can I apply for the WFH Program after the initial intake date? If so, why was there a deadline?

Eligible employees may submit applications to a manager/supervisor at any time for consideration thereafter.

The initial intakes were set to ensure equity and fairness among interested and eligible employees in anticipation of a high volume of applications.

I work within one of the three colleges but at a location outside of the five U of A campuses (at the hospital, garden etc.). Am I eligible to apply for the WFH program?

The WFH Program is intended to support roles whose work is normally conducted at one of the five university campuses. Should you feel your role could be supported for a WFH arrangement, you are encouraged to discuss it with your manager/supervisor.

Work From Home Agreement

Can I request a WFH arrangement because I am unable to secure childcare?

No. A WFH arrangement should not be used as a solution for personal needs including dependent care or other personal responsibilities.

  • As part of the application process, employees must confirm arrangements are in place for regular dependent care and other personal or family responsibilities during work hours.
  • Requests for accommodation related to family status or other protected grounds will be considered through other processes.
I have an approved WFH arrangement and it is not working for me. Can I end the arrangement?

Yes. The WFH arrangement may be terminated at any time by either party with 30 calendar days written notice. This notice period can be shortened by mutual agreement.

I have an approved WFH arrangement and I am transferring to another job at the university. I have been told that I cannot continue working from home in my new job. Why can’t I keep working from home?

WFH arrangements are not guaranteed to continue if an employee changes jobs or moves to a different faculty/department.

  • The employee will review the suitability of the new position for a WFH arrangement, which may include completion of the WFH self-assessment and application.
  • Your application may be denied if the new position requires you to be in-person on campus or if it is not operationally feasible in the new role.

Work From Home Schedule

If I apply for the WFH Program, does the schedule need to be consistent?

Yes. The application includes setting a mutually agreeable schedule outlining days and hours that you will be working at home and on campus on a regular basis. 

  • At the time of the application, you and your manager/supervisor will discuss a schedule that meets operational requirements. Requesting occasional exceptions to that schedule can be discussed directly with your manager/supervisor.
  • Any permanent changes to the schedule will require an update to the agreement.
Am I able to set my own hours while I am working under a WFH arrangement?

No. A WFH arrangement does not change your basic terms and conditions of employment with the university under the applicable collective agreement, employment contract, policies and/or laws.

  • Under a WFH arrangement, you will have the same daily and weekly hours of work that you would have if you were working on campus. Any deviations from the agreed schedule must be discussed and approved in advance with your manager/supervisor.
  • Normal departmental processes apply when seeking approval for overtime, requesting vacation, and absences, where applicable.
Do I have to work from home full-time under the program? 

No, an employee may request to regularly work from home for all or a portion of their regular hours of work.

In many circumstances, a blended approach will be best for both the employee and the faculty/department. You and your manager/supervisor will discuss your request to determine a schedule that is operationally feasible.
Can my faculty/department implement a “standard” minimum number of in-person hours for those applying for a WFH arrangement?

Yes. As noted in the program guide, managers/supervisors have the ability to establish the minimum required number of in-person hours per month. This may include a minimum standard number of hours for a particular faculty/department.

Health + Safety

What if I am sick on a Work from Home day?
  • If you are unable to work due to illness, you must advise your supervisor prior to the start of your shift as per normal processes.
  • The Employee Injury and Illness provisions and processes apply whether you are working from home or in person on one of the U of A campuses.
  • It is requested that you do not come to campus even with mild symptoms.
If I injure myself while working from home and while undertaking work related duties, am I covered under WCB and do I need to complete an incident report?

Yes, your home office is considered a work site when you are undertaking university related work duties. You have the same WCB coverage as if working on campus.

  • You must notify your supervisor of the incident, whether it is a near miss or if you are injured, by completing an incident report using the HSE ARISE online reporting system.
Should I undertake a hazard assessment associated with my work station at home?

Yes, a specific home office hazard assessment template has been developed for use.

  • The assessment must be completed, including the implementation of the appropriate controls.
  • You must maintain a record of the completed hazard assessment
One of the WFH requirements is to have access to an appropriate first aid kit.  Do I need to purchase my own first aid kit?

No. The university will provide employees on a WFH arrangement with the necessary first aid kit for your home work location. Please contact your manager/supervisor for a first aid kit.

  • This kit is university property and must be returned to your supervisor if your WFH arrangement is discontinued.

Home Office

During the pandemic, I moved away from the geographical area* and I was able to continue working remotely. Why can’t I continue to do that now?
  • The WFH Program is not intended to facilitate the employment of individuals who wish to reside outside of the geographical area.
  • With the introduction of a formal WFH Program, all eligible employees who wish to work from home will have to apply per the program guidelines and their request will be considered accordingly. 
  • If your request is approved, a completed WFH Application Form form must be approved for you to work from home.
  • During the pandemic, most employees were required to work from home due to public health restrictions. Some individuals may have chosen to relocate for personal reasons which should have been discussed with your managers/supervisors.
  • When employees discussed their plans to move (either temporarily or on a permanent basis), they were advised that although their request to work outside of the geographical area may be approved at that time they would be expected to return to campus with their colleagues once the restrictions were lifted.

* Geographical area: For the purposes of the WFH Program, geographical area is defined as the Greater Edmonton Area (Beaumont, Devon, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Greater Parkland Regional, Leduc Regional, Morinville, St. Albert and Sherwood Park), Sturgeon County and Camrose regions. If you were working outside of the geographical area noted above prior to February 1, 2020, please consult your manager/supervisor.

If I had a medical accommodation that allowed me to work from home prior to the launch of the WFH Program, will this continue?

Yes, your medical accommodation is not impacted by the introduction of the WFH Program and you do not need to apply for a WFH arrangement. Your medical accommodation will continue for the duration of the accommodation agreement.

What if I work outside the province already? 

If you were hired for a designated work location outside of Alberta, then the WFH Program does not apply to you.

If the work associated with your position is normally conducted within one of the five University of Alberta campuses and there has been an informal agreement with your manager/supervisor that you are able to work from outside Alberta, you will need to discuss your individual circumstances with them in relation to continued out-of-province employment.

If I use my own device, is the security monitoring software mandatory?

Yes. Employees will not be permitted to use personal computers or cell phones to conduct university business if they refuse to install the required technology applications.

  • The WFH Application Form outlines the requirements to install Multi-Factor Authentication and Endpoint Security on university-owned equipment. In the event the employee is using a personally owned computer to conduct university business, they are required to allow the installation of security applications on the computer. 
  • Employees using their personal cell phones for university business will be required to install a Mobile Device Management application.
Can I borrow university computer equipment and/or office furniture so I have a proper workstation at home?

Employees who apply for a WFH arrangement are responsible for the cost of office furniture that meets ergonomic standards and associated costs with working from home. As part of the normal employment process, the university will assign one desktop computer or laptop including a technology accessory kit (mouse, keyboard, monitor, docking station) if required.

  • Headsets and office chairs may be borrowed from the work-site pending approval of the manager/supervisor.
  • All equipment and furnishings purchased directly by the university (or through respective purchasing accounts) remain the property of the university and must be returned at the end of the WFH arrangement, or earlier if requested by the university.
What home office expenses can I claim as part of a WFH arrangement?

Some employees may be eligible to claim home office Employment Expenses on their income tax if certain conditions are met.

  • Employees are responsible for ensuring they understand the Canada Revenue Agency guidelines for the home workspace. Employees are required to seek their own tax advice
  • Employees who have an approved WFH arrangement in excess of 50% of their regularly scheduled hours may be eligible to receive a T2200 (Declaration of Conditions of Employment). A T2200 is a year-end tax reporting document that an employee uses to deduct employment expenses from their income.
Are employees financially responsible for loss or damage to university property while in-transit or off campus including their home office?

No, departments are financially responsible for university property on or off campus.

  • In the event of loss or damage to university property, employees must immediately notify their supervisor and then report the claim through the university’s online claim reporting portal.  
  • The department is responsible for all financial risk including any deductible and/or uninsured loss or damage.
Does the university insure the personal property of employees (including property which may be leased by the employee) on or off campus including the approved home office?

No. At no time is the university responsible for the personal effects of employees.

  • The employee is financially responsible for any loss, damage and/or financial expenses on or off campus including a home work site relating to their own personal property including insurance costs, deductibles and/or self insurance (under deductible losses).  
  • If personal property is used for work of the university at an approved work from home site, the employee must file a claim directly with their own insurance company and is responsible for direct replacement of that property.
Is the employee required to maintain continuous personal homeowner or tenant insurance throughout the WFH arrangement?

Yes, all employees must maintain homeowner or tenant insurance to protect against financial loss to their personal property and liability. 

  • The university may require that a letter signed by an authorized representative of the employee’s insurer be provided to confirm that the insurer is aware of a home office and that personal insurance coverage is in full force and effect. 
  • The name of the insurer, policy type and period of coverage must be included. A copy of the employee's insurance policy is not required.
Should employees notify their insurer of their WFH arrangement?

Yes, it is important that your insurer is aware that you have a home office. This may or may not result in any extra insurance premium to you due to change in use or values insured (from additional personal office equipment).

  • At no time are meetings to be conducted or business guests invited to your home for the business of the university. Please make arrangements for business of the university to be conducted on campus. This includes courier arrangements.
  • Contact your personal insurance provider directly to discuss insurance and coverage options.

On Campus Location

Can I have campus-wide parking applied to my personal parking pass if I am on a WFH arrangement?

If you have a campus parking permit, a campus-wide secondary permit may be purchased as a secondary designation to a primary lot if your position requires.

  • The cost of a campus-wide permit is paid by the faculty/department. 
  • If you are required to regularly travel to another campus while working on campus, you should discuss your parking needs with your manager/supervisor to determine whether a campus wide pass is appropriate. 
Will I still have office space on campus?

Each faculty/department will need to assign space accordingly to meet their requirements. Employees who have an approved WFH arrangement may be asked to relocate to an alternate space or make use of shared office space.

  • If you are concerned about how this will impact your specific situation, it is recommended that you speak with your manager/supervisor prior to requesting a WFH arrangement.
I have an approved WFH arrangement and my manager/supervisor wants me to work on campus on an occasional basis. Can I claim for parking on those days? 

No. Mileage, parking or transit fees incurred when an employee is required to attend work at the designated university work site are the responsibility of the employee.