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.

Policy 14: The unbelievably long history of revising our pregnancy and parental leave policy

This is the second in a series of posts by Bryan Tolson about the revised pregnancy and parental leave policy (P14). Bryan was a FAUW representative on the drafting committee for P14 and is FAUW’s Past President.

In Friday’s post, I made the business case for the revised Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave).

Today I want to make a more fundamental point about policies and policy revision here at the University of Waterloo and ask: Can it work?

Waterloo, like McMaster and (to a lesser degree) Toronto,1 uses policy to govern many of the terms and conditions of our employment: appointments, tenure, promotion, ethical behaviour, intellectual property, etc. Some policies relate to faculty only (F policies); some apply to faculty and staff (FS); some apply to everyone (G). FAUW only has a formal role in F and FS policy revision—even though faculty might have a special interest in the application of some G policies (e.g. Policy 73 Intellectual Property Rights).

How this policy development structure works in practice

The bad news is that Waterloo has failed to successfully revise any F or FS Policy (there are 21 such Policies) since 2012. Delay—unconscionable delay—has made policy development grind to a halt for many years now. 

I’m going to tell you my story of revising Policy 14, Pregnancy and Parental Leave. I call it my story because I have dedicated almost 1000 hours to Policy 14 improvements from as far back as 2013 with FAUW (and even in 2007 & 2008 as Co-Chair of the Women in Engineering Committee), and because I’m writing from my own perspective as a participant in the process (as FRC member and Policy Drafting Committee member).

Continue reading “Policy 14: The unbelievably long history of revising our pregnancy and parental leave policy”

Policy 14: The business case for a new pregnancy and parental leave policy

This is the first in a series of posts by Bryan Tolson about the revised pregnancy and parental leave policy (P14). Bryan was a FAUW representative on the drafting committee for P14 and is FAUW’s Past President.

After years of work, the Policy 14 Drafting Committee has delivered a revised policy that substantially improves pregnancy and parental leave benefits for UW employees. FAUW expects that the President will bring it for information to Senate on March 22 and for approval to the Board of Governors on April 6. Once approved, it will be in effect immediately.

The business case for improved pregnancy and parental leave is clear

On Monday, I will make the policy case for the new Policy 14. Today, I want to make the business case.

The revised Policy 14 can help the University of Waterloo with the huge challenge that it faces in recruiting and retaining female faculty members in general and female Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) in particular.

  • Waterloo has the lowest percentage of faculty who identify as female in the U15 universities (based on 2019 data)—31.3% (see Figure 1 below). The next lowest university is almost 5% higher than UW. We are also last among all Ontario universities.
  • This dismal showing is in spite of UW’s recent efforts, such as He4She, to increase female faculty representation. For example, in 2014, UW’s percentage was 29.4%—that’s a very small increase over five years.
  • In only eight years, by 2029, the federal government has mandated that UW must have 51% female representation in both Tier 1 and Tier 2 CRCs. We are currently at 27%. That is a huge gap to fill.
Continue reading “Policy 14: The business case for a new pregnancy and parental leave policy”

Does policy drafting at UW still work? Policy 14 could tell us.

—Kate Lawson, English Language and Literature

The updated draft of Policy 14 – Pregnancy and Parental Leaves (Including Adoption) is the product of UW’s unique collegial process and one that we can all be proud of.

FAUW members often ask how—and even if—their “terms and conditions of employment” can be updated and improved. They look at UW’s comparator institutions in Ontario and notice that colleagues there don’t just get salary increments in their collective agreements; they also get improvements in such areas as workload, benefits, and employment equity. And it is certainly true that faculty members who belong to unionized faculty associations have well-defined pathways to such improvements.

UW is different.  

Continue reading “Does policy drafting at UW still work? Policy 14 could tell us.”