Compassionate care and bereavement leave (policy 12)

This is a new policy, initiated through our salary negotiations process in early 2021.

Note that the minimum benefits to be covered under this policy already came into effect May 1, 2022.

Why this policy is important

Until our 2021 salary settlement, Waterloo was far behind other Ontario universities on compassionate care and bereavement leaves and benefits. We had only one to four days’ paid leave in the event of a child, partner, or parent dying, and no benefits to supplement the provincially mandated compassionate care leaves. With the new benefits and leaves negotiated in the 2021 settlement, we’re now able to take time away from work to grieve, or to provide care or support to a critically ill or injured person or someone needing end-of-life care.

Policy 12 timeline

  • Our salary settlement was finalized in February 2021 and stipulated that the benefits and leaves would come into effect May 1, 2022 (which they did).
  • The policy drafting committee began its work in November 2021, and submitted a draft policy to FRC in March 2022, which FAUW strongly supported.
  • In late 2022, we heard that the PDC had received additional feedback from the University.
  • In January 2023, the PDC sent an updated draft to FRC and SRC based on all of the feedback so far. The Board and FRC both discussed the draft in February. The Staff Relations Committee is also discussing this draft, and we believe we are close to agreement on all sides.

FAUW representatives

Lori Curtis (former Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee chair)

Aimée Morrison (Equity Committee member)

What FAUW is looking for in an accommodations policy

Mainly, we’re looking for equitable, fair, and consistent implementation of the settlement. We know we’ll see the four weeks of paid bereavement leave (and possible extension) and the top-up pay to supplement EI during critical illness or family medical leaves that we negotiated. It would be great to see additional benefits beyond that.

We want to ensure that:

  • there are no unnecessarily burdensome documentation requirements;
  • the definitions of family include all those that we might consider close family, even if the connections may not be conventional; and
  • applications to extend a period of compassionate leave beyond the minimum are consistently and fairly resolved.