COVID-19 - 2019 Novel Coronavirus

COVID-19: Employment

U of G’s Human Resources team is available to address employment questions related to COVID-19.

Accommodations and Leave Options

If you need extended time off work, there are a number of leave options that exist under various Human Resources PoliciesEmployee Agreements and through the Employment Standards Act.

To understand the options that are available and which option might be best for you, please contact your HR Consultant or your Faculty and Academic Staff Relations representative (fasr_questions@uoguelph.ca). To understand the benefit implications associated with a leave of absence from work, please contact your HR Service Associate.

To access a leave of absence of ten days or more, complete a Leave of Absence Request Form and submit it to your immediate supervisor for approval.

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Under the Employment Standards Act, the Government of Ontario has created the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave provision: a job-protected leave available to employees who are required to be absent or are unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full details are available on the COVID-19 tools and resources section of the Human Resources website. By way of a summary:

  • This is a leave without pay
  • Subject to specific criteria being met, this leave provides for a job-protected leave of absence for employees who are prevented from working as a result of COVID-19, who are ill or isolating, or who are unable to work as a result of the closure of public schools and daycares
  • If you want to continue receiving your benefits during the leave, you are required to maintain cost-sharing of your benefits
  • If you are a member of a U of G pension plan, you can continue to accrue service time during your leave by making your required contributions to the plan

To understand how this option affects your specific situation and whether it is right for you, contact your HR Consultant. To understand the benefit implications, please contact your HR Service Associate.

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To access the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, please submit the leave request in writing to your immediate supervisor using the Leave of Absence Request Form.

The University may require evidence but will not request a medical note to justify the leave.

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To report your absence, please:

  • call the COVID-19 call centre at 519-824-4120 Ext., 53906
  • complete an Employee Self-Declaration Form and
  • contact your manager, chair or division head following your unit’s normal absence reporting practice.

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Temporary full-time, part-time and student employees who have exhausted paid sick leave benefits and are required to isolate or be off sick due to a COVID-19 related absence, will be placed on an Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. Human Resources will generate a record of employment for those employees on this leave, so that they can make an application for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.

Individuals will be required to submit a Self-Declaration Form and notify their immediate supervisor of their requirement to be absent.

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U of G’s normal accommodation processes will be used to address such needs. Speak with your supervisor for more information and assistance.

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Flexible work arrangements, access to vacation leave, lieu time, the extension of family responsibility time or modification of working hours should be used to help employees meet childcare needs. Employees who are unable to perform their job duties due to child care responsibilities can consider taking an unpaid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave

More information on types of leave available from the University are on the HR website.

Full details about the Declared Emergency Leave are available from Human Resources.

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Working on Campus

The University of Guelph is working hard to protect the safety of those working at our campuses and managed facilities. Employees who are working on-site must follow U of G’s COVID-19 safety practices.

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) has created several EHS guiding documents to support a safe work on campus.

EHS is available to provide guidance on working safely during COVID-19 and can be reached at ehs@uoguelph.ca.

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Working Remotely

The University of Guelph has a Flexible Work Arrangements Policy that provides a broad overview of the various types of flexible work arrangements available to University employees upon their request, operational requirements permitting, and the framework within which they are to be administered. Remote work arrangements should be discussed with your manager or supervisor.

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Setting up a Remote Workspace

You have two options if you need office furniture or equipment to support your work-from-home setup.

Option 1: Temporary use of equipment from the workplace

With your supervisor’s advance permission, some equipment from your on-campus office can be taken home for temporary use while you are working remotely. If you intend to take furniture or equipment home, ensure you can safely remove, prepare, load and unload equipment when you get to campus and when you return home before attempting to move. If you need assistance, please contact David Horne (dhorne@pr.uoguelph.ca) in Physical Resources to coordinate.

Occupational Health and Safety has provided general guidelines for setting up an ergonomic work space at home, but cannot provide home assessments.

Items that can be temporarily removed from your office area include:

  • Office chair
  • PC
  • Monitor
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Printer

Be sure to take the related cords and cables so you can connect everything at home.

It is the employee’s responsibility to obtain approval from their supervisor before removing anything from the workplace. When removing office equipment, we ask that you take a photo of the equipment, and email the photo to your supervisor, copying in your finance or administrative assistant, stating “I have taken the [item – with its asset number if available] home for use during the work-from-home period, and I agree to return it to my office at the University.”

Option 2: Acquisition of equipment (e.g., desk, chair, etc.)

Employees purchasing office furniture that they wish to retain can do so and request a T2200 be completed by the appropriate vice-president, dean or associate vice-president for the current tax year. Please note that a signed T2200 does not provide an employee with any assurances that expenses incurred are tax deductible. The eligibility to deduct employment expenses is a matter between the employee and the Canada Revenue Agency. Please see HR Policy 316 for more information on the T2200 process. You can also refer to information on the Canada Revenue Agency’s website:

If you can’t acquire existing equipment from the workplace, with your supervisor’s advance permission, you can order necessary equipment.

Departments are encouraged to limit the purchase of new home office equipment for exceptional circumstances. Expense claims must be submitted for reimbursement for these costs. Costs should be charged to your home department using object code “63802 – Furniture <$5K”.

The employee and their supervisor should determine whether the employee will be keeping the equipment or whether they will return the equipment to the University. This should be clearly indicated in the Notes/Purpose section of the claim header as well as the expense description line of the claim form.

For example, the expense description would be “Office Chair – Personal” or “Office Chair – U of G”.

If the employee will keep the equipment, the reimbursement will be flagged as a taxable benefit, and will appear as part of the employee’s T4 for 2020.

If the employee will return the equipment, there will be no tax implication.

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Human Resources has compiled the following resources to help make your remote workspace more ergonomic.

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Logistics While Working Remotely

Computing and Communications Services (CCS) has a number of tools that can help you work from home. Visit their Working Remotely page for details.

CCS also has advice on how to work from home securely to protect your devices, your personal information and the University when you’re online.

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Please visit the CCS Help webpage for assistance if you need technical support for your remote workstation.

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If you subscribed to home internet service prior to the March 17, 2020 notice to begin working from home, those services cannot be claimed.

If you can show that you are incurring incrementally new costs, those costs may be eligible to be claimed, subject to your supervisor’s approval. For instance, if you had a new internet service installed, or if you upgraded your service, you will need to provide a copy of the bill that shows the date of install or upgrade occurred on or after the date your flexible work agreement began.  Such incremental increases can be submitted through the expense claim process (ECS system).  Visit the financial services website for information on how to submit a claim.

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Any incremental charges incurred on your home phone bill can be claimed through the expense claim process (ECS system). Visit the financial services website for information on how to submit a claim.

Jabber is an application that allows you to remotely place and receive calls from your office extension on your cell phone, laptop or tablet. You may want to contact the CCS Help Centre to determine whether the use of Jabber may be appropriate. You can reach the CCS Help Centre at 519-824-4120 Ext. 58888, via email at IThelp@uoguelph.ca.

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Any incremental charges incurred on your personal cell phone bill can be claimed through the expense claim process (ECS system). Visit the financial services website for information on how to submit a claim.

Please note that video conferencing should be kept to a minimum when using cellular data to minimize data costs incurred.

Jabber is an application that allows you to remotely place and receive calls from your office extension on your cell phone, laptop or tablet. You may want to contact the CCS Help Centre to determine whether the use of Jabber may be appropriate. You can reach the CCS Help Centre at 519-824-4120 Ext. 58888, via email at IThelp@uoguelph.ca.

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Depending on the nature of your role and the work-from-home arrangements you have made with your supervisor, you may be required to receive work-related calls at home.

If you need to be able to answer work-related calls remotely, email the CCS Help Desk and ask to have Jabber set up. Jabber is an application that allows you to remotely place and receive calls from your office extension on your cell phone, laptop or tablet.

In your request please include:

  • Your extension
  • Your User ID from your central login credentials

If you are not expected to reroute your U of G extension to your personal phone, please updates your voicemail with to let callers know how to reach you. If you need help changing your voicemail message, find instructions on the CCS Voicemail web page.

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