[COVID-19] Update -- Work from Home Reimbursements


Published: 29Jul2020

This message is sent on behalf of Cristiane Tinmouth, Associate Vice-Principal, Financial Services & Leigh Yetter, Interim Executive Director, Analysis, Planning & Budget, Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier this year the COVID activity code was introduced to identify expenses related to the transition to remote teaching and remote workspaces, and guidelines were established to help unit leadership establish local practices and assess expense reimbursement requests from academic and admin and support staff. Please refer to the guidelines in the message from April 22, 2020, undernoted.

As we move toward a return to on-campus activity, please continue to use the COVID activity code to identify expenses related to health and safety measures. These expenses might include, for example, personal protective equipment (PPE), changes to infrastructure or workspace configuration, and exceptional IT needs.

Consistent use of the COVID activity code for related expenses will help ensure that the University is able to track COVID-related spending at all levels, which will in turn help us identify and account for any variances in FY2021 and ensure we are able to report fully our COVID-related expenses to the Quebec Government, should we be invited to do so again.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or Leigh Yetter.

With best wishes,


From: Cristiane Tinmouth
Sent: April 22, 2020 8:57 AM

Good morning,

Please refer to undernoted message for guidelines regarding work from home expenses eligible for reimbursement. Please ensure distribution to supervisors who are responding to requests for reimbursements.

Given that most McGill staff are currently telecommuting, you may receive questions from your staff about the reimbursement of expenses relating to remote workspaces. The University does not typically subsidize the cost of an employee’s remote workspace, including equipment and supplies. The undernoted guidelines are to address this temporary work from home situation.

However, if an employee is required to purchase equipment or supplies beyond what they would normally have at home, reimbursement requests should be aligned with the following guidelines.

These guidelines are applicable to 1A and 1B funds. Restricted funds should adhere to specific guidelines as outlined by sponsors, agencies and memorandums of agreement. Eligible academic staff may also continue to make use of the Professional Development Fund according to the parameters identified on the APO site.

Type of Expenses


Personal cell phone usage

An employee who has to use a personal cell phone to make calls or access internet in the course of work will be reimbursed for the usage in excess of the respective personal plan.

Internet connection

Most providers having communicated that their internet plans will be unlimited until further notice, using internet for work at home should not result in additional expenses for the employee. An employee who does not have access to internet can obtain a temporary mobile internet service (click here for more details).

Accessories for working from home (e.g.: cable, headset, mouse, stationery)

Approval from the supervisor must be obtained prior to incurring expenses related to working remotely. Reasonable and legitimate expenses will be reimbursed. Reimbursed accessories remain McGill property. Supervisors are responsible for maintaining the inventory of equipment purchases for working from home to ensure all is brought to campus when normal operations resume.

Printer and ink cartridge

Under the current circumstances, we have to be creative and review our processes. Reducing or avoiding printing would be preferable. Many units have already transitioned to a paperless operations using electronic signatures, etc.

Furniture (e.g.: desk, chair, elevator stand)

McGill does not subsidize the cost of an employee’s remote workspace, therefore this type of expense is not eligible for reimbursement for this temporary period.

When claiming approved expenses related to working from home, please use the following activity code: COVID. Please note that the activity code is only for tracking of COVID-19 related expenses. All units and faculties must fund these reimbursements from their operating budgets. Please submit expense reimbursement requests within 30 days of purchase.

Should you have any questions regarding the above guidelines or expense reimbursements, please do not hesitate to contact Cris Tinmouth at Cristiane.Tinmouth [at] mcgill.ca.

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