The PSUO-SSUO Bargaining Unit regularly meets with members for various reasons related to their working conditions or responsibilities. Although each member’s concerns are unique, common themes have emerged over the past few years and common issues have become apparent to us. We’d like to provide 6 points of advice to all members which we think could be useful:
1. If you call in sick, be sick
When you take a day as a leave due to sickness, you have declared to the employer that you are too sick to work, and the employer is paying you to be at home and to get better. During this time, you should not be doing any other activities that you would normally do if you were well enough to work, such as answering work emails, making work-related phone calls, applying for jobs or attending interviews (with the University or outside the University). If you have any questions about sick leave benefits, or there are any changes to your medical information that the employer should know about, contact “Employee Health, Wellness and Leave.”
2. Your medical information is private and confidential
As per article 27.12 in the Collective Agreement, you are not required to inform your supervisor or sector of the nature of your illness or your doctor’s name. It is recommended that you do not volunteer any medical information to your supervisor or co-workers to ensure the confidentiality of your personal information. All questions or requests for medical information will come from “Employee Health, Wellness and Leave” at Human Resources and should ONLY be answered or filled out by your doctor. The nurses at “Employee Health, Wellness and Leave” are required by Ontario law to maintain confidentiality and respect your privacy.
3. Regular and ongoing communications with your supervisor
The annual formal evaluation should be a summary of your performance and objectives throughout the year and it should not contain any surprises to you. Maintaining regular communications with your supervisor, such as monthly or weekly summaries, is highly recommended to ensure objectives are being met. Items to include could be tasks you completed, unforeseen tasks which required your time or attention, concerns for the future which could impact your time or ongoing projects, etc… Putting it in writing or in an email is a great way to keep your supervisor up to date.
4. Preparing for interviews
A lot of members are disappointed when they find out they were unsuccessful following an interview. Preparation and practice are important if you want have a successful interview so consider attending one of the training sessions offered by CODL/CADO for successful interviews. Following an unsuccessful interview, you may request a post-interview meeting to get feedback about how you performed and you may be accompanied by a Union Representative if you wish.
5. University Resources
The University is required to supply you with all the necessary tools and resources you need to perform your duties. Items such as your telephone, computer, university-paid cell phone, camera, vehicle, internet connection, printer, etc… are all resources owned and provided by the University. Actions could be taken against you if you are caught using any University resource for personal use or gain, even during your breaks or lunch time.
Many members seek assistance from us when they feel overworked, exhausted or when they feel it is impossible to complete their required tasks in any given day or week. In these cases it’s important to remember 3 things: Regular and detailed information to your supervisor regarding your workload and tasks (see point 3 above). If absent due to sickness, focus on getting better, and not checking your emails or responding to phone calls (see point 1 above). Most members work 1,820 hours per year (Article 19.1) and any additional hours are not required. Overtime hours (Article 20) must be “explicitly and directly” approved by your supervisor, and are not compulsory. You may choose to be compensated in hours or money.
As always if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org