Work From Home Program

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.

Arrangements to work from home are formalized with a Work from Home Agreement.

Who is Eligible for the Work From Home Program

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

Implementation of the WFH program will occur in phases due to the volume of employees who may consider the program. Employees in the following categories will be eligible to apply for the WFH program during Phase 1:

  • Management and Professional Staff (MAPS)
  • Excluded Support Staff
  • Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA)

Additional Employee groups will be considered for inclusion in phase 2 in summer 2022.

How to Apply for the Work from Home Program

  1. Review the Work From Home Program Document and assess whether your role is eligible for consideration.
  2. Download the Work From Home Program application form. Open the form from your desktop, complete Part 1, save the form and submit it to your 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 a WFH Agreement outlining the conditions of working from home.
  6. Your supervisor will provide you a copy of the WFH Agreement and ensure the agreement is placed on your personnel file.

The intake of Phase 1 applications for the WFH program is expected to begin in November 2021 and reviewed through January 2022. Phase 1 applicants will be advised of decisions in January 2022 with formal WFH Agreements to begin in February 2022.

These initial timelines will 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

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 medical accommodation processes.

If you have concerns about returning to campus, discuss them with your Manager/Supervisor.

Visit the Recovery and Return to work web page for more information.

Can I apply for a WFH agreement if I chose not to get vaccinated?

No. Effective November 1, 2021 the university will require everyone on our campuses to be fully vaccinated.

As part of the WFH Agreement, the employee must be able to attend designated in-person hours on campus as determined by the Manager/Supervisor and as such, will be required to comply with the university’s vaccine directive.

My Manager/Supervisor has advised me that I am 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.

If you wish to work from home on an ongoing basis, as of January 2022, you will have to apply per the program guidelines and the application will be considered accordingly.

If your request is approved, there will be a formal WFH Agreement that must be in place in order for you to continue to work from home as of January 2022.

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

Yes. The WFH Program is intended to formalize longer term Agreements. It is not intended to address 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 Program. Am I eligible to participate?

No, not at this time.

Due to the volume of applications, the WFH Program will be introduced through a phased approach. Phase 1 outlines the employment categories eligible to participate in the program at this time. Consideration will be given to additional employment categories for Phase 2 implementation. If there are changes to program eligibility, an announcement will be communicated.

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?

The initial intake date was set to ensure equity and fairness among interested and eligible employees in anticipation of a high volume of applications. Employees eligible under Phase 1 of the program may submit applications to a manager/supervisor at any time for consideration thereafter.

Why did we need to apply by December 31, 2021 if we are not returning to campus until after February 28, 2022?
The program was launched in fall of 2021 in anticipation of a return to in-person activities before the end of the year. While continued public health restrictions delayed the in-person return, the decision was made to continue with the set approval process timelines. Approved agreements will start once health restrictions are removed.

WFH Agreement

Can I request a WFH Agreement since I am unable to secure childcare?

No. A WFH Agreement 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 Agreement and it is not working for me. Can I end the WFH Agreement?

Yes. The WFH Agreement 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 Agreement 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 Agreements 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 Agreement, which may include completion of the Work from Home 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.

Does the University of Alberta COVID-19 Vaccination Directive still apply to me on a WFH Agreement?

Yes. Employees will still be required to follow the university's COVID-19 vaccination directive.

A WFH Agreement does not override the requirements under the vaccination directive.

As part of the WFH Agreement, the employee must be able to attend designated in-person hours on campus as determined by the Manager/Supervisor and as such, will be required to comply with the university’s vaccine directive.

Can I apply for a WFH agreement in lieu of being vaccinated?

No. Vaccine requirements are laid out in the university's vaccination directive.

As part of the WFH Agreement, employees must be able to attend designated in-person hours on campus as determined by the Manager/Supervisor and as such, will be required to comply with the university’s vaccination directive.

WFH Schedule

If I apply for a Work from Home Agreement, 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 process, 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 Agreement?

No. A WFH Agreement 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 Agreement, 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 schedule, outlined in the WFH Agreement, must be discussed and approved in advance with your Manager/Supervisor.

Normal departmental processes apply for seeking approval for overtime, requesting vacation, and for 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 Agreement?

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 and 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 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.

Can I request a WFH Agreement because I have a medical condition that may be negatively impacted by COVID-19?

Employees who require alternate work arrangements due to their own personal health conditions, may seek accommodation through the university’s medical accommodation processes.

Employees who require accommodation for reasons other than their own health (including residing with a person who may be at risk for health complications) can apply through the university’s standard non-medical accommodation process. Questions regarding this should be directed to the HRSP.

If you have concerns about returning to campus, discuss them with your Manager/Supervisor.

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.

You must complete an incident report using the HSE ARISE online incident 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 Agreement 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 Agreement the necessary first aid kit for your home work location.

Please contact your Manager/Supervisor to obtain the First Aid Kit.

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

Home Work Location

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 Agreement is not intended to facilitate the employment of individuals who wish to reside outside of the geographical area.

During the pandemic, most employees were required to work from home due to public health restrictions. During these unprecedented times, 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.

A formal WFH Program has been introduced at the university. All eligible employees who wish to work from home as of January 2022 will have to apply per the program guidelines and their application will be considered accordingly.

If your request is approved, a formal WFH Agreement must be in place for you to continue to work from home as of January 2022.

*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 have a medical accommodation that allows 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.

You do not need to apply for a WFH Agreement, 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 your Manager/Supervisor 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 Agreement 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.

On Campus Location

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

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 approved WFH Agreements 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 Agreement.

I have an approved WFH Agreement 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.