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Guidance for working remotely for UK-based Staff

Contents

1. Introduction
2. Equipment for remote working
3. Use of IT equipment off-campus
4. Communication and contact
5. Caring responsibilities 
6. Health and Safety
7. Financial and legal considerations for remote working 
8. Security and Data Protection

Appendix 1


1. Introduction

1.1 This guidance accompanies the Hybrid Working Guidance for Professional Services and Technical Staff but is equally applicable to all staff, providing specific guidance on working remotely

2. Equipment for remote working

2.1 All staff have the option of choosing a PC or a laptop to undertake their work. This should be arranged by your department. Those who have a UCL laptop should use this for remote working. Those who have a PC on campus may borrow a departmental laptop if one is available or use their personal PC or laptop at home. When their UCL PC is due for renewal they should consider choosing a laptop to enable hybrid working.

2.2 It is the responsibility of any staff who work remotely on a voluntary basis, to ensure that they have:

  • at home, and at their own expense, a suitable workstation that is DSE compliant.  This may include a suitable desk, an adjustable chair, a keyboard and mouse which is separate to the laptop, and a laptop stand.
  • the VPN client; MS Teams and UCL file storage drives installed on any personal laptop or PC
  • appropriate broadband width (at their own expense)
  • undertaken a DSE assessment on their home workstation.

2.3 It is also recommended that anyone working remotely have their laptop connected to their router via an ethernet cable for optimum speed and connection; and a headset for MS Teams calls.

2.4 Staff with a disability or a long term condition, who require specialist equipment to work from home as a reasonable adjustment, will be supported on a case-by-case basis.

3. Use of IT equipment off-campus

3.1 All remote workers must be fully conversant with and comply with the following UCL policies at all times, including when they are working remotely:

3.2 Information Services Division (ISD) has a variety of Remote Working advice and tools to support staff including setting up your workstation, using your broadband effectively, How to Stay Secure.

3.3 Users should log any IT issues with the ISD helpdesk as usual.

4. Communication and contact

4.1 Staff working remotely will be expected to be logged in to UCL systems and to be available during their agreed normal working hours on email and MS Teams. They should provide their line manager and colleagues with their mobile number for emergencies. In addition, staff must make use of their Outlook calendars showing their whereabouts and meetings on any given day and must give their line manager and immediate team colleagues access to that calendar.

4.2 Line managers should maintain regular contact with their members of staff who are working remotely with regular video calls.

4.3 Immigration: Those working under an immigration visa have a legal obligation to ensure that their outlook calendar shows their whereabouts at any given time and this includes when they are working remotely. Sponsored migrants who are working from home part of the week must register their home address as an additional work address against their certificate of sponsorship. The Departmental Administrator needs to record the home address on the Newland Chase form in the section asking for place of work address when requesting a Certificate of Sponsorship.

4.4 Making Hybrid Work:  UCL has collected together a number of resources to help staff working remotely or in a hybrid way. This site contains tools and information to support you and those around you to get the most from remote working.

4.5 Reporting/booking Absence: The usual rules for taking any kind of absence or reporting in sick still apply.

5. Caring responsibilities

5.1 While working from home offers carers more flexibility before and after work, with less commuting time, working from home is not a substitute for childcare or care for other dependents, and staff must ensure that they have caring arrangements in place during their working hours.

6. Health and Safety

6.1 DSE Assessment: All remote workers will need to complete a Workstation DSE self-assessment for both their home environment and on campus.

6.2 Accidents / Near Misses while working at home: Employees who sustain an injury or have an accident while working from home are required to follow University procedures for reporting such incidents.

6.3 Personal Details and Safety: Staff should not normally need to provide their home address and personal telephone number except for emergencies or other exceptional circumstances. A UCL postal address and a UCL telephone number should be given. UCL extension numbers will go through to your MS Teams. MS Teams can be used to make internal telephone and video calls. Remote workers must not meet students or other University clients in their home.

7. Financial and legal considerations for remote working

Working remotely from overseas

7.1 Unless your contract of employment states the contrary, your UK contract of employment requires you to be resident in the UK. This means that your main home is in the UK, that you live in the UK for the majority of the year, and that you pay income tax in the UK. This is a legal and tax requirement.

7.2 UCL is unable to accommodate or comply with requests to work remotely while abroad. This is because working from abroad entails complex issues covering immigration; local employment law and health and safety law; local income tax and social security payments; some UK pension rules; corporate tax issues for UCL; data protection and intellectual property issues. If you wish to work remotely while abroad on a short-term, temporary basis this must be discussed with your line manager in the first instance, who will need to take specialist advice from UCL’s Global Tax Manager, in HR, before approval can be given, as this may still give rise to local immigration, tax and social security issues. If this is approved, working abroad will be limited to 60 days in any one UK tax year (April to April).

7.3 The exception to this policy is where there is a UCL requirement or formal agreement to work abroad, rather than a personal preference to do so. Please see Global Mobility Policy.

Travel Expenses

7.4 The nominal “normal place of work” remains the University and all staff will be expected to meet the cost of travelling from their home to their normal work location or claim the cost of travel to another location less the cost of travelling to their normal work location. All additional travel costs for business use will be claimable as usual through Oracle.

Business Rates

7.5 You do not usually have to pay business rates if you are working from a home office for an employer. For more information see the government website.

Tax relief on expenses incurred from working at home

7.6 If UCL requires an employee to work at home, and the arrangement is not voluntary, you may claim tax relief for utility bills at a flat rate of £6 per week for the tax year 2020/21. You cannot claim tax relief if you choose to work from home.

Insurance Cover

7.7 Staff are advised that working from home may affect the provisions of any home and contents insurance policy, although this should not affect your premium.  It may also affect mortgage provisions. Employees should therefore inform their insurers / mortgage provider / landlord before commencing homeworking. There is a template letter at Appendix 1.

7.8 Any damage or theft of University property must be reported to the line manager immediately.

7.9 All staff working remotely, whether in the UK or abroad on a temporary basis, are covered by the University’s Personal Accident, Employer’s and Public Liability Insurance, as long as the rules of this Policy have been followed.

London Allowance

7.10 London Allowance continues to be payable in full for staff whose contractual work location is in a London Borough. There are no current plans to adjust the London Allowance.

8. Security and Data Protection

8.1 Security and data protection rules continue to apply. Remote workers must ensure that documents kept at home are stored securely in a lockable cupboard and that computer-held data and documents are subject to security logins and protection. All work conducted remotely must be undertaken via the UCL’s single sign-on, so that it is stored on the central server. Confidential information must not be accessible to other members of the household and confidential waste material must be shredded.

Appendix 1