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Updated: December 2021

Purpose

Postdoctoral fellows are an integral part of the university community and make an indispensable contribution to its mission, especially the research enterprise.

It is the general purpose of this guide to establish a working relationship between the university and its postdoctoral fellows, to define rates of pay and other working conditions, as well as to ensure the prompt and peaceful resolution of disputes that may arise from time to time.

For additional information postdoctoral fellows should consult the website of Contract Teaching Faculty.

No Discrimination

It is agreed that there will be no discrimination, interference, restrictions, coercion, or intimidation exercised on or practiced by the university or postdoctoral fellows in regard to any matter associated with the terms and conditions of employment by reason of race, creed, colour, sex, gender, marital status, ethnic origin, ancestry, place of origin, political or religious affiliation, sexual orientation, citizenship, age, record of offences, family status, disability, or language (unless an occupational requirement of a position).

Harassment/Discrimination

Harassment is defined in Ontario’s laws as "engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” Generally, these comments or conduct must be related to one of the prohibited grounds such as race, sex, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, marital status, same sex partner status, sexual orientation, age, disability, citizenship, family status or religion.

It is expected that all employees will act in accordance with university policy 6.1.

Environmental/Occupational Health and Safety Policy

The university is committed to the health and safety of employees and in providing a safe work environment at all times. This commitment encompasses striving to identify and address workplace hazards and the prevention of work-related injuries and illnesses. The university will operate and the employees shall work in compliance with the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), Environmental Protection Act, their regulations, and any applicable municipal, provincial and/or federal legislation. The university and the employees shall make every reasonable effort to prevent personal injury, and to maintain safe working conditions.

Please see policy 7.1 Environmental/Occupational Health and Safety Policy.

Employment Accommodation Policy

It is expected that all employees will act in accordance with university policy 8.7. The following is a summary of the policy.

“Wilfrid Laurier University is committed to providing equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, record of offence(s), marital status, family status, disability, colour or ethnic origin as described by the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The University has both a legal and moral obligation to accommodate the needs of its employees so that barriers to equal participation are eliminated wherever possible.”

Issue Resolution

Laurier is committed to the maintenance of a civil workplace. Promoting civility and respect and early intervention will reduce the risk of incivility, including workplace harassment and violence. Whenever conflicts arise, Laurier employees are encouraged to deal directly with the other person(s) who are involved to respectfully engage in dialogue to achieve resolution.

Laurier has established resources and a process to facilitate achieving a respectful workplace to foster clear communication and candor, facilitate respectful interactions and yield solutions of mutual agreement.

A guide for the Employee Issue Resolution Process can be found on Connect. (Note: This includes a form has an appendix that will assist in documenting concerns that you would like to present for assistance in finding a resolution. Documentation related to any concerns regarding disrespect and incivility will be kept confidentially by your Manager.

Business Operations

The university has the right to manage its affairs subject to the limitations of this handbook.

Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the university has the exclusive right and responsibility:

  • to manage its business;
  • to maintain order, discipline, and efficiency including the right to plan, direct, and control the workforce;
  • to hire, classify, promote, transfer, demote, lay off, or recall employees, and to expand or reduce the size of the workforce;
  • to alter, combine, or cease any operation, function, or service.

The university has the right to establish and enforce reasonable rules and regulations and to discipline, suspend, or discharge employees for just cause.

The university will exercise the foregoing rights in a manner that is fair, reasonable, and consistent with the terms and provisions of this handbook. In the event that it is alleged that the university has exercised any of the foregoing rights contrary to the provisions of this handbook, the matter may be the subject of conflict resolution procedures.

Harassment / Discrimination

It is agreed that there will be no discrimination, interference, restrictions, coercion, or intimidation exercised on or practiced by the university or student employees in regard to any matter associated with the terms and conditions of employment by reason of race, creed, colour, sex, gender, marital status, ethnic origin, ancestry, place of origin, political or religious affiliation, sexual orientation, citizenship, age, record of offences, family status, disability, or language (unless an occupational requirement of a position).

Harassment is defined in Ontario’s laws as "engaging in a course of vexatious comments or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” Generally, these comments or conduct must be related to one of the prohibited grounds such as race, sex, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, marital status, same sex partner status, sexual orientation, age, disability, citizenship, family status or religion.

It is expected that all employees will act in accordance with university policy 6.1.

Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management (SHERM)

 

Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management (SHERM) is mandated to support the university's strategic goals, innovation and excellence. This is achieved by integrating health, safety and environment into the university's culture and by guiding the community in achieving due diligence. SHERM’s primary role is to develop, promote and implement best practices in loss prevention, mitigation and operational risk management; manage the university's overall health and safety program with the goal of preventing occupational injuries and illness; and develop and implement programs and procedures to meet all of the requirements, duties, and standards set by the OHSA and the Regulations for Industrial Establishments, the Environmental Protection Act and all other applicable Federal and Provincial legislation.

Please see SHERM’s web page for more information.

Workplace Violence and Prevention

Workplace violence will not be tolerated, accepted or condoned by Laurier. No person shall engage in violent conduct or make threats of violence, implied or direct, on university property or in connection with the university business or workplace. To establish this commitment, Laurier has implemented a Workplace Violence Prevention Policy (Policy 7.18) and program.

Joint Health and Safety Committee

The Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) is a group of worker and management representatives working together to identify and solve health and safety issues in our workplace. The JHSC is given various powers and responsibilities through the Occupational Health and Safety Act. With the assistance of the Director, Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management, the JHSC will meet their mandate including recommending health and safety improvements in the workplace

Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

In accordance with the OHSA, a worker can exercise the right to refuse work when he/she believes their safety is at risk, or if the work they are performing poses a safety risk to another worker. This right can also be exercised when a worker believes their safety is endangered by the risk of workplace violence. No employee will be disciplined for exercising their right to refuse unsafe work in accordance with OHSA. Please see more information on right to refuse work.

Training

The university will provide safety training to employees and the employees will participate in such training. Training deemed necessary by SHERM's director will be made available to all employees.

Personal Protective Equipment

The university agrees to provide personal protective equipment and clothing when required by the OHSA and/or university policies, and to ensure that safety equipment, materials and protective devices are maintained in good condition.

Safe Operation of Equipment

Managers, in consultation with SHERM, will identify equipment that represents a level of hazard sufficient to warrant formal Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Any employee who is required to operate such equipment will receive training and instruction by the University to ensure the health and safety of the employee and the safe operation of the equipment.

First Aid Regulation

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 1101) requires that the workplace contain first aid stations and that the workplace have workers certified in first aid to provide treatment when needed. A list of qualified first aid personnel will be maintained at the SHERM website.

Accident/Incident Reporting

Workplace accidents are unwanted events usually accompanied by undesirable consequences and often with the potential for personal injury and damage to property. All accidents involving Laurier staff, faculty, students, visitors and contractors must be reported as per our procedure regardless of the severity of the accident by completing the Accident/Incident Report within 24 hours of the accident.

Fire Alarm Procedures and Fire Safety Plans

It is the responsibility of all students, staff and faculty to follow the approved fire alarm procedures in the event of a fire or fire alarm in any Laurier building. Fire alarm procedures are posted at all emergency pull stations and in every class room on campus. In addition, it is the responsibility of every employee to be familiar with the fire safety procedures and designated safe area for the building’s they work in. Fire alarm plans, related procedures and designated safe areas can also be found on the Fire and Life Safety Connect page.

Students, Staff, Faculty or visitors with disabilities who require assistance evacuating due to a disability, please contact the AODA officer (accessibility@wlu.ca) to have an individualized evacuation plan created.

Compensation and Benefits

Salary

Salary ranges for postdoctoral fellows will vary depending on the availability of funding and may be governed by the regulations of granting agencies. Where no specific salary is mandated, the postdoctoral fellow’s compensation is based on his/her relevant experience and responsibilities, the final salary will be established by the supervising faculty member following consultation with the postdoctoral fellow.

Postdoctoral fellows normally receive earnings from either a supervisor’s grant or from a fellowship awarded to the postdoctoral fellow, which may or may not be administered via Laurier. In some cases earnings are paid from a combination of sources. Earnings from a supervisor’s grant are salary, and as such are subject to the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA), as well as Canada Revenue Agency deductions.

The duration of appointments should be a minimum of four months to a maximum of five years.

Benefits

Where it is allowable under the regulations of the granting agency, postdoctoral fellows hired after Jan. 1, 2016 will be provided with 4% of their gross pay in lieu of benefits. This 4% amount is in addition to their regular wages and is paid to employees on each pay deposit. Postdoctoral fellows may elect to participate in the university benefit program for postdoctoral fellows at their own expense. Detailed information regarding available benefits can be found on the HR Benefit page. The Benefits Specialist contact in Human Resources can be found at the Total Awards page.

Postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to participate in the University Pension Plan.

Please note that some external postdoctoral fellowships (e.g. Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships) are considered stipends, instead of salaries, and as such are not eligible for non-discretionary benefits, such as receiving 4% in lieu of benefits.

For postdoctoral fellows hired prior to Jan. 1, 2016 the terms and conditions outlined in the employment contract apply.

Overtime, Vacation and Holiday Pay

Hours of Work

By the nature of the work performed by Postdoctoral Fellows, it is possible that there will not be a strictly defined work schedule that will apply at all times. For jobs with special requirements where scheduling flexibility is a fundamental aspect of the work, it is essential that the Postdoctoral Fellow and the supervising faculty member meet at the outset of the appointment to discuss and agree on issues and expectations around the scheduling of work, including the number of hours that will typically be required per week.

Supervising faculty members have the right to direct days and hours of work for Postdoctoral Fellows as employees; however, conditions as outlined in the Employment Standards Act 2000 (“ESA”) must be adhered to. Postdoctoral Fellows should not work more than 176 hours in any two consecutive bi-weekly pay periods without advance written approval from his/her supervisor. If a Postdoctoral Fellow works in excess of 176 hours in two consecutive bi-weekly pay periods, they will be entitled to time off in lieu at a rate of 1.5 hours for every additional hour worked, provided that such additional hours were approved in advance.

Vacation

Vacation entitlement is two weeks per 12-month appointment with salary and benefits. Vacation must be taken during the year in which it is earned and will not accumulate from year to year. For appointments less than 12 months, vacation entitlement will be pro rated.

Public Holiday Pay

Public holiday pay shall be in accordance with the Employment Standards Act. The Postdoctoral Fellow’s salary is inclusive of holiday pay.

Leaves

Leaves such as sick leave, pregnancy and parental leave, jury duty, compassionate leave, etc., are governed by the Ontario Employment Standards Act 2000 (“ESA”).

Some of the granting agencies will provide benefits in addition to those outlined in the Employment Standards Act, therefore Postdoctoral Fellows are encouraged to review those resources when in need of a leave. Information on leave benefits provided by granting agencies can be found at on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

All employees are encouraged to review the information provided on the ESA website.

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