Date and Instance of Approval
Administration Committee – May 18, 2022
Office of the Provost and Vice- President Academic Affairs
Office of the Vice-President, Finance and Administration
June 1st, 2022
The purpose of this Policy is to set out the guiding principles about disconnecting from work and set out the general responsibilities of supervisors and employees.
For the purposes of this Policy, the following words and expressions have the corresponding meaning:
Applicable Law encompasses the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 or other applicable provincial or federal laws, regulations or successor laws or regulations, related to employment as may be amended from time to time.
Disconnecting from work means not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, phone calls, video calls, or sending or reading other messages, so as to be idle, outside of the Employee's normal working hours. This Policy does not grant an additional right beyond the entitlements already set out in the Employment Standards Act, including those relating to hours of work and hours free from work, overtime pay, meal and/or rest periods, public holidays and public holiday pay, and vacation.
Employees means all unionized and non-unionized individuals employed by the University, including administrative and support staff, academic staff, and those who hold positions in job categories that are typically known as exemptions or excluded from certain provisions under the Employment Standards Act related to hours of work, rest periods, overtime.
Employment Contracts means collectively all collective agreements to which the University is a party and individual employment agreements between the University and an Employee, as may be amended from time to time.
Employment Standards Act (ESA) means the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000, the regulations enacted pursuant to it and any successor legislation, as amended from time to time.
Normal hours of work means the normal hours of work contained in the Employee’s employment contract, collective agreement or in relation to an accommodation arrangement between the Employee and the University.
Supervisor means a person who has charge or authority over an Employee. Depending on the workplace relationship, a supervisor may include, for example, managers, professors, deans, directors or other heads of units or those with managerial authority. The determination as to whether a person is a supervisor does not depend on that person’s job title. It depends on whether the person is responsible for the work that is being performed by the Employee or whether the person gives direction to complete the work performed by an Employee.
University Policies and Procedures encompasses all University policies, procedures, by-laws, rules, directives which may be amended from time to time.
This Policy is to be read in conjunction with applicable Employment Contracts, University Policies and Procedures and Applicable Law. For further clarity, nothing in this Policy is intended to amend or supersede any applicable Employment Contract.
This Policy applies to all Employees.
5. PRINCIPLES AND POLICY STATEMENTS
5.1 The psychological well-being of Employees is of the utmost importance to the University. The University strives to promote psychological well-being and to prevent psychological harm while supporting Employees in prioritizing their own health and wellness. The University recognizes that disconnecting from work contributes to achieving a healthy and sustainable work-life balance.
5.2 The University supports the promotion of disconnecting from work and will take reasonable steps to ensure that all Employees, regardless of their place of work, are:
informed of their normal hours of work and of the circumstances, if any, in which they will be expected to engage in work-related communications outside of their normal hours of work; and
able to take applicable meal, rest periods and hours free from work as required by the applicable Employment Contract or University Policies and Procedures; and
able to take vacation or other leave entitlements as required by applicable Employment Contract, University Policies and Procedures or by applicable Law.
5.3 An Employee’s ability to disconnect from work depends on the University’s business and/or operational needs and the duties and obligations of the Employee’s position, subject to applicable Employment Contracts, University Policies and Procedures and applicable Law.
5.4 Nothing in the Policy precludes the University or other Employees from contacting other Employees, students or other colleagues, vendors, third parties outside of what may be considered normal hours of work or standard business hours, subject to any rights or entitlements the receiving Employee may have under their applicable Employment Contract or under University Policies and Procedures and applicable Law.
5.5 Employees will not be subject to reprisal for raising questions or concerns about disconnecting from work or for exercising their rights in accordance with the Employment Standards Act.
5.6 The University will provide Employees with a copy of this Policy (and any substantive changes made to it) in accordance with the Employment Standards Act and by making it available on the University’s website.
6.1 Supervisors are expected to be mindful of and respect the normal hours of work of the Employees they supervise and should:
make reasonable efforts to inform and remind Employees of their normal hours of work and of the circumstances, if any, in which Employees will be expected to engage in work-related communications outside their normal hours of work. For example, Supervisors could instruct Employees,
to turn their automatic out-of-office notifications on and/or change their voicemail messages, when they are not scheduled to work, to communicate that they will not be responding until the next scheduled workday; and/or
to add text to their e-mail signature outlining their normal hours of work.
develop, as needed, written practices or instructions with respect to disconnecting from work that are consistent with the principles set out in Section 5 of this Policy and communicate these to the Employees they supervise; and
respond to questions or concerns regarding disconnecting from work from those Employees they supervise.
6.2. Employees should:
co-operate fully with any applicable mechanism utilised by the University to record working time or update their working status (example: automatic out-of-office messages) as applicable, including when working remotely; and
be mindful of colleagues’, vendors’ and other third parties’ working hours (examples: by not routinely emailing or calling outside of working hours or expecting answers or responses outside of working hours or by using the function that allows the delay or scheduling of the sending of an email); and
notify their Supervisor, in writing, of any meal, rest, break or other periods free from work which they are entitled to under their Employment Contract but were unable to use due to performing their employment duties and the reasons why this occurred; and
speak with their Supervisor if their workload is regularly preventing them from being able to take meal, rest, break or periods free from work that they are entitled to under their Employment Contract or form otherwise being able to disconnect from work.
7. REVIEW AND IMPLEMENTATION
7.1 The Associate Vice-President of Human Resources and the Vice-Provost of Faculty Relations are responsible for the periodic review of this Policy, as necessary and for its implementation.
7.2 The Associate Vice-President of Human Resources and the Vice-Provost of Faculty Relations will lead, oversee and approve the establishment of any procedures, instructions, directives in relation to the implementation of this Policy. The University will post on its website such procedures, instructions, directives, information and any other relevant details as needed in relation to the implementation of this Policy.
8.1 The Associate Vice-President of Human Resources and the Vice-Provost of Faculty Relations are responsible for recommending to the Administration Committee any amendments to this Policy.
8.2 Notwithstanding Section 8.1 of this Policy, the Secretary-General may amend this Policy without the need to submit such amendment to the Administration Committee for approval if such amendment to this Policy is required to:
Update or correct the name or title of a position, unit, law, regulation, policy, authority; and/or
Correct punctuation, grammar, typographical errors, revisions to format and other technical revisions, where appropriate, if the correction does not change the meaning of a provision or make such other correction if it is patent both that an error has been made and what the correction should be; and/or
correct the form of expression of a provision in French or in English to be more compatible with its form of expression in the other language; and/or
make consequential amendments to conform with or arising from another University by-law, resolution, policy or to conform with the advice, recommendations and instructions related to applicable Law.