Policy 14: A note about eligibility

Our final (we hope) pre-approval Policy 14 blog post is from FAUW President Dan Brown.

One structural element of the new Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave) is that it describes different eligibility categories based on the estimated time that an employee will be employed at Waterloo. In particular, staff whose contracts do not have an end date, and faculty who are tenured, tenure-track, or continuing, are immediately eligible for top-ups to parental leaves, while all other employees are not: they must work one year at Waterloo before they are eligible, and their length of leave depends on the total number of years for which they have a contract to work at UW. This one-year up-front obligation is a revision to the existing policy, which required that the employee have worked for six months before taking the leave and have six months remaining on their contract after returning from the leave.

This latter group of contract employees includes definite-term lecturers and research professors, both of whom may not be eligible for top-ups to their leave during their first contracts, depending on the lengths of those contracts. It also includes a quite large number of contract staff members.

FAUW’s Equity Committee and Lecturers Committee raised a concern over the difference in eligibility timing and length of paid leave that early-career tenure-stream and definite-term faculty would face under this new policy, arguing that it formed an important inequity to address, and the FAUW board held a vigorous discussion of this issue at a meeting in January. The eventual board decision was that we would advocate for the current draft to be approved; a key concern was that Policy 14 be enacted before the end of this fiscal year, because of the strictures of Bill 124 on benefit expansion. We also noted at this meeting that the new policy does offer significantly higher overall benefits for definite-term lecturers, these differences notwithstanding.

One aspect of this issue is that it highlights the need for good revisions to Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments): Teaching-stream faculty identified as “tenure-track” after these revisions are completed would be immediately eligible for Policy 14 leaves upon employment, for example. (Or, if “tenure-track” is not language in the new Policy 76, a corresponding small revision to Policy 14 could be made.)

We are advocating for expansion of benefits for lecturer members on a number of fronts currently: trying to get rid of two-year-less-a-day contracts; arguing that, as “regular faculty” under Policy 76, all lecturers are “regular employees” so time spent in lecturer positions (including definite term) counts towards eligibility for policies 23 and 59; and through the Policy 76/77 revisions. It’s also worth noting that all FAUW members will be equally eligible for the expansion in bereavement and compassionate-care leave negotiated in the 2021 salary settlement.

One last comment about Policy 14 eligibility: At Senate yesterday, I urged President Hamdullahpur to make the new, extended Policy 14 leaves available to all eligible employees who are already on a P14 leave as of April 6, when the policy is approved. This seems the only logical and fair way to implement this policy: as employees eligible for these benefits, they should receive them. The president responded by saying that he’d follow up with HR, but that since policies are enacted upon approval, he doesn’t expect to see this extension of leaves.

As Policy 14 finishes its approval, FAUW will be building materials about the effects of the changes, focusing on changes for both lecturers and professors; also, our Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee will be prepared to assist individual members with their individual circumstances.

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