Prepared for Seasonal Employees
Written in January 2022
ONTARIO PUBLIC SERVICE – UNIFIED
OPSEU/SEFPO members who work for the ministries and agencies of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) provide the services that Ontarians depend on every day to keep our communities safe and improve our quality of life. We are the backbone of every public service the province of Ontario provides: education, health care, social services, public safety, transportation and infrastructure, labour standards, food and water safety, consumer rights, protection of the environment and natural resources, and human rights and accessibility, to name just a few. The Unified Division of the OPS includes most of the OPSEU/SEFPO members who work for the Ontario Public Service, with the exception of the Corrections Division.
Welcome to OPS Unified!
The collective agreement covers a wide variety of topics. Some of them are critically important to know and understand, others don’t apply to you at all as a Seasonal employee.
The purpose of this document is to help you navigate the important aspects of being a union member. On the first page, you’ll see information pertaining to your local Stewards (also known as local reps). These employees were elected by your peers to represent everyone in your unit.
When questions or concerns arise regarding rights and entitlements under the collective agreement, members are encouraged to discuss these issues with their manager, a representative from Human Resources or representative from Pay and Benefits. When in doubt, your steward or executive committee member may be able to provide clarity should you have concerns with the information you have received.
This booklet is intended to be an easier-to-read version of the articles that apply to you as a fixed-term employee. However, this is NOT a replacement for the official Collective Agreement, and it may not have been updated since the last round of bargaining. If you need help addressing an issue with management, contact your local steward for assistance.
How to Submit Your Electronic Membership Application (EMA-Web version). Simply follow this link https://hub03.opseu.org/Forms/emaweb and submit electronically!
It entitles you to member DISCOUNTS on wireless services through BAKA (Bell), Via Rail tickets, Insurance, OPSEU/SEFPO Group Home & Auto Insurance, tickets to ROM, sporting events, Fallsview Waterpark, Ontario Science Center and OPSEU/SEFPO Merchandise!
Collective Agreement (CA) that applies to your classification as a Seasonal Employee (SE)
Article 32 to Articles 32.21 apply only to Seasonal Employees (SE)
SE employee is employed or a period of at least 8 consecutive weeks – full-time for a minimum of 36.25 hours or 40 hours. This is a recurring contract.
For the purposes of Article 32.2, same position is defined as the position in
the same classification, in the same organizational or administrative unit and work location which the employee held prior to the seasonal break.
32.3.1 The probationary period for a seasonal employee is two (2) full
seasons of at least eight (8) consecutive weeks. This must be worked in consecutive years; in the same class series (e.g. Resource Technician 1 to 4); and in the same ministry.
Seniority will accumulate upon completion of your probationary period. This includes:
(a) all hours worked as a seasonal employee at the straight-time rate. This does not include overtime hours worked or holidays;
(b) See Article 32.16 (Attendance Credits and Sick Leave) for further explanation.
You will lose your seniority when: you resign, are terminated from your employment, (unless such dismissal is reversed through the grievance procedure), you are absent without leave that goes beyond 10 consecutive working days, you are unavailable or decline offers for re-employment as noted in Article 32.5 (Employment Stability); or you are not working for the ministry for more than twelve (12) months.
Always speak to a steward immediately in any of the above situations.
You will not lose your seniority if you decline work or are not available due to any of the following:
- You are pregnant and is expected to give birth within the contract period or up to seventeen (17) weeks before the start of your contract period;
- Your or your spouse has given birth or adopted a child, and you are on parental leave, within thirty-seven (37) weeks of the start of the contract period; or
- You will need to submit documentation from a legally qualified medical practitioner verifying the anticipated or actual date of birth, or documentation indicating the date the child will be in the home.
You will not lose your seniority where you are unavailable for or decline re-employment if you are receiving an award under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.
Given the above reasons relating to not losing your seniority, you will also not lose your benefits providing you choose to continue paying the premiums. This is explained in Article 32.8.4 below.
Once your probationary period is completed you will be offered employment in the same position in the following season on a seniority basis. Sometimes the same position is not available, so the Employer may offer you another position within 40 km from that workplace/headquarters.
If there are layoffs, prior to the termination of your contract, the individuals with the least amount of seniority are to be laid off first.
It is your responsibility to inform your employer of any changes to your phone number and address. Be sure it is recorded accurately by the employer, to ensure you are recalled for reemployment.
You will be paid on the same salary schedule as Regular Employees. The salary schedule is included at the end of the Collective Agreement.
You also will progress through the salary range at the start of each period of seasonal employment, providing you have completed your probationary period first.
OT rate is 1.5x your regular wages. This is dependent on your type of Schedule, ie Schedule 6 employees see explanation below). It is rounded to the nearest half hour. Overtime is incurred when you exceed your scheduled hours for that scheduled shift, or if you are scheduled to work on a scheduled day off.
Overtime is paid within two (2) months from when the overtime occurred.
Schedule 6 shall not qualify for overtime on a normal working day. When required to work on a day off they shall receive equal time off. For every hour worked you would receive an hour in lieu.
Notwithstanding the above regarding Schedule 6 – If you are assigned to forest fire fighting or related duties you would be paid 1.5 times your basic hourly rate. This is calculated on 36.25 hours per week, for all such work after 8 hours in a 24-hour period.
Your benefits include: Basic Life Insurance Plan, the Supplementary Health and Hospital Plan (including Vision Care and Hearing Aid benefits) and the Dental Plan.
Your benefits begin on the first of the month after you have worked 2 continuous months. Subsequently, after completing 2 full periods of seasonal employment, your benefits will begin on the first of the month on or immediately following the start of your period of employment for any future years of employment.
Your benefit coverage ends at the end of the month when your contact for that seasonal employment ends. You can continue to receive such benefit coverage if you arrange to pay the full premiums yourself, between your seasonal employment. This would need to be paid in full 1 week in advance of the first month in which the benefits coverage is to take effect, otherwise you will not receive any benefits whatsoever. This is paid to the insurance carrier directly by you, the employee.
You may also continue your benefits during “leaves of absences”, providing you pay the full premiums at least 1 week in advance of the first of the month in which coverage is to take effect.
While receiving benefits (even if self funded) you have the ability to appeal benefits to the Joint Insurance Benefits Review Committee (JIBRC).
Note: there is a 31-day grace period following the end of your seasonal work contract in which Basic Life insurance still applies.
Some jobs are much easier to schedule using compressed work week agreements. This means a Full-Time position may normally be 40 hours per week, but for scheduling purposes, the hours are unevenly distributed over the course of several weeks, but averaging at 40 hours.
Members with 5 or more years of service will receive 6% of gross pay in lieu of vacation leave. Less than 5 years of service you will receive 5.75% of gross pay in lieu of vacation.
For each holiday outlined in Article 47, you will receive 4.6% of gross pay, not including vacation pay, to compensate for the holidays
If you work on any of the outlined holidays in Article 47, you will be paid 2 times your basic hourly rate for all hours worked and also receive the 4.6%.
HOWEVER, if you are in a classification under Schedule 6 you will receive a regular day’s pay (basic rate with no enhancements to your pay) and 4.6% in gross pay.
You are entitled to 3 days off with pay, in the event of death to a family member as described in Article 32.15.1. (Spouse; Parent: Child; Sibling; In-law; Grandparent; Grandchild; Ward; Guardian; Step-parent; Step-child; Step-grandparent; or Same-sex spouse)
An additional day without pay is available to you to attend a funeral of a relative as described in Article 32.15.2 (Aunt; Uncle; Niece; Nephew).
You are allowed up to 2 days leave of absence without pay to attend the funeral of a relative listed above if the funeral location is greater than 800km from your residence defined in Article 48.1 and 48.2.
This is counted as “attendance” with no loss to credits.
You will earn attendance credits of 1.25 days for each calendar month of full attendance. You do not lose your attendance credits earned in one year, as they are carried over into the next year. The only time you will lose your attendance credits is if you change ministries or lose your seniority, are terminated, or become employed in the Regular Service.
Attendance credits may only be used for purposes in the event that an employee is unable to attend to his or her duties by reason of illness or injury.
After 5 days’ absence caused by sickness, you may need to provide a doctor’s note.
However, where it is suspected that there may be an abuse of sick leave, the manager may request a doctor’s note at any time.
Reach out to your union steward.
See Article 9 – Same provisions as Full Time and FXT
9.1 The employer will make reasonable provisions for the safety and health of its Employees
9.2 The employer will provide safety equipment and protective clothing where required
9.3 The employer will subsidize the purchase of safety shoes or boots for on-the-job protection, as required
9.4 The supply and maintenance of apparel will be done as per current practice
9.5 After each hour of continuous operation of a Video Display Terminal (computer), you will spend 10 minutes doing other duties away from the computer
9.6 Every 24 months, an Employee regularly required to operate a VDT for 2 hours or more per day is eligible for an additional eye exam (specific tests are outlined in the article)
9.7 Accommodation guidelines are in place for pregnant employees using VDTs that contain cathode ray tubes
9.8 Ergonomic standards include height-adjustable tables or stands, and appropriate seating. The chair provided will be adjustable, and a foot rest will be provided where needed. Paper and work stands will also be provided, where needed.
Seasonal employees who have not completed their probationary period may be terminated by the Employer at any time with two (2) weeks’ notice or pay in lieu thereof.
Call a steward STAT!
Pregnancy and parental leaves will be granted to Employees under the terms of the Employment Standards Act with basic EI entitlements.
Parental leaves shall be granted for up to 35 weeks for an Employee who took pregnancy leave, or up to 37 weeks after it began otherwise. (Standard Leave)
Parental leaves shall be granted for up to 61 weeks for an Employee who took pregnancy leave, or up to 63 weeks after it began otherwise. (Extended Leave)
The employer takes care of this – it comes out of your pay cheque automatically and gets sent to the union.
32.21.1 The following articles of the Central Collective Agreement shall also apply
to seasonal employees: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.1, 6.3, 6.4, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22,
23, 24, 27, 28, 45, 49 and 80.
32.21.2 The following articles of the Bargaining Unit Collective Agreements shall
also apply to seasonal employees: UN4, UN6, UN7, UN10, UN11, UN12;
OPSEU/SEFPO is your bargaining agent and representation.
Outlines what management has absolute control over. Basically, if the Collective agreement doesn’t say how they have to do it, or that they can’t do it – they have control over it.
You have the right to be free of discrimination in the workplace.
Similar to 31A.14 – management takes care of calculating how much to take off each cheque to pay your dues and sends the payment directly to OPSEU. The article more so gives administrative information for management to follow.
You must be given access to the collective agreement. You must be informed of the option to join the pension program. You must be informed, within 30 days, of the option to enroll in benefits.
Articles 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4 apply to Fixed-Term Employees. These refer to rules about posting vacancies, scheduling interviews, etc.
These articles mean you are working in a different position temporarily – like an acting manager who is normally an Employee. There are items about the difference in wage, the length of the assignment, etc.
See above Article 32.17.
If you are travelling for business purposes in your own vehicle, you are entitled to reimbursement per kilometer.
Any time you are travelling for business purposes, you are entitled to compensation. There is a breakdown of what type of travel is counted as how much time – you’ll have to look in the collective agreement for specifics.
Any premium payments you receive (such as shift premiums) cannot be duplicated or pyramided – meaning they don’t stack. You can’t claim both a night shift premium and a weekend premium.
There are several layers of union negotiations with the employer. These are known as Employee Relations Committees (ERCs). There are three levels – Local (LERC), Ministry (MERC), and Central (CERC). Whatever decisions the ERCs make with the Employee apply to Fixed-Term Employees.
The employer has the right to discipline or dismiss you with just cause. You have the right to grieve such action.
- If you have a complaint, you must meet with your immediate supervisor to discuss the issue, in order to give them a chance to address it.
- If the complaint is not resolved, you have the right to file a grievance with your manager, in writing, through the Union, within 30 days.
- Management must hold a Formal Resolution Stage Meeting (FRSM) with you within 15 days of receipt of the grievance, must give you their decision in writing, within 7 days, and must send a copy to the Union steward. You will be given time off with no loss of pay or credits to attend this meeting.
- You have the option to be represented by a Union representative at the FRSM.
- If you are not satisfied with the decision, or do not receive the decision within the specified time, you may apply, through the Union, to the Grievance Settlement Board (GSB) within 15 days of the receipt of the decision, or within 15 days of the specified time limit.
- There are various types of grievances that can be filed. These include but are not limited to: Lay-off; Dismissal; Insured Benefits; Sexual Harassment; Group; and Union. Each of these types has specific guidelines which are outlined in Article 22, so be sure to speak with your Union representative if you have any questions.
- Any letter of reprimand, suspension or other sanctions will be removed from your Employee file after 3 years, provided that your record has been clear of any similar offences for those 3 years. Once removed, these items cannot be used in any subsequent proceedings.
Certain union activities are covered by this article (bargaining team caucus, annual convention, among others). If you are an elected member to one of these activities, you will be granted a leave of absence to attend. In some cases, these leaves of absence are paid. In others, they are unpaid, but are classified as “no loss of credits” – meaning you aren’t forced to use attendance credits to go on leave, and you won’t lose accumulated credits.
Anyone can apply for a leave without pay. The collective agreement says the deputy minister “shall not unreasonably deny such requests”. Family Medical Leave and Personal Emergency Leave will be granted based on the current Employment Standards Act.
If you are a juror or have been subpoenaed as a witness, you are entitled to leave. You can either take a leave without pay and keep whatever the court is giving you or take a leave of absence with pay and reimburse the employer whatever the court gives you. (Regular Employees also have an option to use vacation or compensating time off but Fixed-Term Employees don’t have those.)
Reservists may be granted up to 1 week paid and 1 week without pay for CF Reserve training. The article does not speak to deployment – but you should already know how that works if it applies to you.
As soon as practicable at the end of each quarter, management will let you know how many attendance credits you have available.
You can apply for this leave under “special compassionate grounds”. Up to 3 days per calendar year can be granted. This leave would not count against your attendance credits.
Literally just how long the collective agreement is valid for. In the final year, members vote for a new bargaining team.
If a shift does not start and end on the same calendar day, the day the shift started is to be considered the calendar day worked.
Applies when you work between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
If more than 50% of your hours fall within 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. you are paid shift premium for all hours worked.
Whatever is currently in place at your workplace is the practice that will be used.
Stand-by means you are not working but are available to receive a call to return to work, and you are immediately available to return to the workplace. Stand-by is voluntary only. While on stand-by, you will be paid half your hourly wage, for a minimum of 4 hours.
On-call is when you are available outside normal working hours and expected to respond within 2 hours. You get paid $1.95 per hour of on-call, in addition to your normal pay for hours worked. This is voluntary only – your employer cannot require you to be on-call. If you do return to the workplace, this would be considered a call-back.
SE who work more than two (2) hours overtime immediately following their scheduled hours of work without notification of the requirement to work such overtime, prior to the end of the members previously scheduled shift is entitled to the cost of one (1) meal $11.25.
A reasonable time with pay shall be allowed to take the meal break.
UN 12.2.2 (b) – outside of 24 kilometres of your Headquarters during a normal meal period you are entitled to a meal reimbursement.