University Policies
Policy Contact
Accounts Payable Email 401-863-2716

Alternative Work Assignment Expense Reimbursement Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish requirements for the appropriate stewardship of University funds in support of work performed at Alternative Worksite Locations.

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to all Brown University faculty and staff.

3.0 Policy Statement

Expenses incurred specifically to support effective Remote Work must follow the requirements in this policy, and all reimbursements are subject to the University’s Expense Reimbursement Policy. Employees must spend University funds prudently and for valid Business Purposes.

Employees must follow their respective departmental approval processes and must seek approval from their department head or manager in advance of incurring any expenses, unless generally allowable.

3.1 Generally Allowable Purchases

Brown University provides employees with the appropriate tools to perform their jobs. The following items, if needed to support effective Remote Work, are generally approved:

  • Basic office supplies (e.g., pens, pencils, or notebooks)
  • Small computer accessories (e.g., monitors, keyboards, or mice)

Employees must make the above purchases in the same manner as non-remote purchases of the same kind. Office and other supplies should be ordered through Brown’s strategic suppliers when available. Purchases of computers must be made in accordance with the Computer Purchase Policy.

Items that are approved for purchase through this policy may be shipped directly to the employee’s Alternative Worksite Location when purchased from Amazon Business.

Employees making purchases on sponsored awards must also adhere to applicable allowability guidelines.

3.2 Expenses Not Permitted

The following items are not approved for purchase or eligible for reimbursement:

  • Private worksite or employee home expenses (e.g., home internet access, electricity, insurance, home maintenance, home renovations or modification for office purposes, and other similar personal expenses)
  • Purchase costs or maintenance/repair expenses associated with employee-owned items or related services

3.3 Travel to Campus

Hybrid: Employees who are working a hybrid schedule will not be reimbursed for travel to their Brown University work location on the days they are working at the University. Under Treasury Regulations 1.262-1(b)(5), such travel would be considered the costs of commuting, which are non-reimbursable personal expenses.

Fully remote employees within a 50-mile radius: Employees who are working a remote schedule and reside within a 50-mile radius from campus are not eligible for travel reimbursement to a Brown University work location.

Fully remote employees outside a 50-mile radius: Employees who are working a remote schedule and reside outside a 50-mile radius from campus are eligible for reimbursement of travel related expenses incurred for occasional visits to Brown University for Business Purposes, subject to documented pre-approval from the employee's department/manager. Failure to obtain pre-approval of travel will be the sole costs of the employee.

3.5 State Requirements

The following states have additional requirements related to reimbursing remote employees for certain remote work expenses: California, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. Employees working in these jurisdictions should obtain prior approval from their department head or manager before incurring any additional expenses. The applicable state requirements / laws can be found in the following links:

California Labor Code Section 2802

Washington D.C. Register Title 7 Section 910

Massachusetts General Laws Part I, Title XXI, Chapter 149, Section 148

This information is intended to help support this policy and may not be all-inclusive. Please contact Accounts Payable for additional information.

The states the University is registered in.

4.0 Definitions

Alternative Worksite Location: A formally designated non-University location where a staff member performs some or all of their job responsibilities. An Alternative Worksite Location must be from a state where Brown is registered to do business, as determined by the University. Alternative Worksite Locations cannot be outside the United States due to significant variation in labor laws, benefits availability, tax consequences, and other considerations.

Business Purpose: A required statement that adequately describes the expense as a necessary, reasonable, and appropriate business expense for the University. All expenses must support or advance the goals, objectives and mission of the University.

Hybrid Work: A partial work-off-site assignment where a staff member works for a portion of the regular workweek on a regular basis from an Alternative Work Location.

Remote Work: An assignment in which a staff member performs work from a non-Brown University location without disruption to other staff and work productivity levels.

Senior Officer: A member of the President’s Cabinet or a direct report to a member of the President’s cabinet.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors and employees with student oversight duties are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure and enforce compliance with it.

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures.

7.0 Related Information

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone, 877-318-9184.

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

7.2 Related Procedures


7.3 Related Forms


7.4 Frequently Asked Questions


7.5 Other Related Information

Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Policy Approved by: Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Contact Information:

Accounts Payable Email 401-863-2716

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:



Webpage Updated October 20, 2023