To ensure the appropriate stewardship of University funds in support of remote work.
May 2023Responsible Office
Generally Allowable Purchases
Purchases Requiring Prior Approval
Purchases Not Permitted
Policy Reminder on Internet Access from Home
Policy Reminder on Commuting and Mileage Reimbursements
Many University of Pennsylvania (“Penn”) employees began to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Penn is deeply appreciative of the adaptability and resiliency of its employees. Penn now supports a culture where different modes of flexible, hybrid, and remote work may be permissible for staff consistent with institutional needs. This policy sets forth the current guidelines pertaining to purchases made to support effective remote work. As always, employees are expected to spend Penn funds prudently for valid business purposes.
1. Generally Allowable Purchases
Penn will supply employees the appropriate tools to do their jobs. Expense approval processes will continue to be managed at the discretion of the Schools/Centers. Employees should seek approval in advance of incurring any expenses.
The following items, if needed to support effective remote work, are generally approved but still must adhere to their respective School/Center approval processes. Basic office supplies like pens, pencils, highlighters, and small computer accessories, such as a keyboard and a mouse, may be considered for remote work purchase, but approval for these purchases may vary by School/Center. Employees should make these purchases under the same guidelines as non-remote purchases of the same kind. For additional information on best practices, please contact your Senior Business Administrator.
Employees may purchase approved items via a Purchase Order (PO) through BEN/Penn Marketplace or with a Purchasing Card (P-Card). Departments are encouraged to designate a point-person (or point-persons) to aggregate employee requests for approved items into bulk purchases for the department.
Purchased items may be shipped directly to the employee’s remote work location. Please consult with your department Business Administrator for your School/Center approved practices.
If you have an exception, please see your Business Administrator.
Employees making purchases on sponsored awards must continue adhering to applicable allowability guidelines.
2. Purchases Requiring Prior Approval
Most purchases that employees may need to perform work remotely and that are not for research, require pre-approval from the Senior Business Administrator. The preferred practice is that employees do not have identical/similar items in multiple locations. Examples include headphones, microphones, webcams, tablets, computers, laptops, and monitors. Employees should consider the feasibility of bringing existing equipment home for temporary or regular use. Penn equipment that is taken offsite should be inventoried, used for business purposes only, maintained, and returned in the same condition in which it was obtained, absent normal wear and tear. Business Administrators should notify employees of the appropriate process for tracking items that have been moved to the home location.
Business Administrators should notify employees of the appropriate process for recording equipment that has been removed to their home location on the department’s Information Technology (“IT”) inventory. If an employee requires additional equipment to support effective remote work, purchases of the above items require prior approval from the employee’s Business Administrator.
All equipment items purchased with University funds are the property of the University and must ultimately be returned to Penn. If these items need maintenance/repair while being used at home, employees should notify their Local Service Provider.
3. Purchases Not Permitted
The following items are not approved for purchase and will not be eligible for University reimbursement, except in extenuating circumstances or pursuant to specific state requirements which requires prior approval from senior management:
4. Policy on Internet Access from Home
The cost of accessing the internet from home is considered a personal expense and will not be reimbursed, except in extenuating circumstances or pursuant to specific state requirements, which requires prior approval from the School/Center Senior Business Administrator.
Please see your School/Center Senior Business Administrator for any additional policies specific to your School.
5. Policy on Reimbursements for Travel to Campus
6. State Requirements