Membership Commonly Asked Questions

Question: Overtime

My manager asked me to work overtime and offered to pay in lieu, is this correct?


No. The default for overtime compensation is paid time at 1 ½  times the employees regular rate of pay in accordance with Article 26.06 and 27.07(a) of the Collective Agreement. However, the employee and employer may discuss and agree upon alternative compensating time off i.e “time in lieu” as outlined in article 26.07(b)(c). 

The procedure for overtime is as follows:

Overtime must be approved by the immediate supervisor prior to working hours outside of your regular work hours. Overtime is paid by default unless an agreement is reached between employee and employer to compensate in lieu. Any agreement to work overtime should be put in writing (email confirmation from supervisor that OT is approved) and recorded in ehr. Not following this process may result in lost wages. You are not required to work unpaid overtime and have the right to notify your supervisor that you will only work overtime if paid. 

Question: Additional Duties

I have been assigned additional work because there has been an increase in volume of work. Can I refuse?

One of our team members is away and myself and coworkers are sharing the workload in their absence. Is this okay?

My manager assigned new duties and when I challenged them I was told it’s in my job description under “other duties as assigned” is that correct?


Managers are often increasing workloads using a variety of excuses to continue to meet operational needs. In general, staff do not have a “right” to refuse work in these situations, however, depending on various factors you can decline to perform new tasks.

Note- at the end of the 6 month period if the duties continue the employee may initiate the Job Evaluation process in accordance with Article 33 as it will be assumed that duties are ongoing in nature. 

Question: Sick Days

I’ve called off sick and the manager is asking for a doctor’s note, do I need to provide one?


As outlined in Article 31.02(b) the immediate supervisor may request a doctor’s note for any sick leave in excess of 3 days. 

Where a sick leave appears to be ongoing in nature (meaning you may be away from the office for more than 1 week) the employee should provide a sick note to the immediate supervisor which should include an expected return date. 

Question: Personal Days

What are the restrictions on personal day requests?


Personal Days (22.03) are restricted to “in the case of a personal or family circumstance beyond the control of the employee which prevents the employee from reporting to work…”

A simple example of a circumstance beyond your control could be an event where your basement flooded and you need to arrange to clean up. In this instance the situation is unforeseen and requires immediate attention. Typically these requests are limited to unforeseen situations that are immediate in nature. You have up to 5 working days in a calendar year available - these days are not carried over to the next year but reset at the start of each calendar year. 

Personal days can also be applied to religious observances otherwise not accounted for on the employer’s holiday calendar.

Exceptions have been arranged for specialist appointments, elder care and child care arrangements. 

If you are uncertain or have made a request that was not approved please contact us.

Question: Union Representation

My manager requested a meeting to discuss my work but I was told that I wouldn’t need the union to be present. Is that okay?


One on one meetings with management where the discussion is about the tasks and projects are regular and routine and do not require representation. Provided that the main purpose is to discuss the progress, expectations and timelines for the task or project assigned then no intervention from the union should be required. If the discussion is related to your performance specifically or any questions are raised that may indicate that your performance is at issue then you should have representation from the union in the meeting in accordance with 6.04 of the Collective Agreement. You have the right to request representation and to have any scheduled meeting rescheduled to a time when representation is available. 

If at any time you suspect that a discussion between you and your manager is performanced based and not task/project based you should notify your manager of your right to representation. Further, if at any time you are meeting with your manager and HR is present you have a right to request union representation. No member of OPSEU is required to engage with HR without union representation. 

Question: Term Conversion

My contract has been renewed and I’m in my third year with the department but no one has contacted me about converting my position. What is the procedure?


As you know term positions are eligible for conversion at the 3 year anniversary but conversion only applies to positions that are funded directly by the university. Positions funded by external sources (ex grants) are not eligible for conversion. 

The first step for a term employee is to contact their immediate supervisor to inquire whether they intend to convert the position. If they confirm the conversion then the employer has 2 months to officially convert the role and HR will notify you in writing of the conversion.

If the employer declines to convert the role they must provide rationale. In this event you will need to determine what the funding source is by asking the immediate supervisor. This is often a needlessly complicated task as managers are rarely forthcoming. Additionally, the union may choose to grieve the decision where the department declines to convert the role. It’s best to contact us immediately when the department is uncertain about converting and not providing clear responses. We’ll assist you in navigating through the process. You can refer to Article 13.02 of the Collective Agreement for language on conversion.