New! Enhanced benefits for UW staff now available

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Did you know our compassionate care and bereavement leaves have been improved effective May 1, 2022? Your UWSA helped secure these enhanced benefits as part of the current staff compensation agreement through its work on the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation (PACSC).

The March 16, 2021 Employee Communication from James Rush, VP Academic and Provost outlined the changes:

  1. “A new compassionate care leave (CCL) supplemental benefit plan will become effective no later than 1 May 2022. Details of the CCL supplemental benefit plan are as follows: Staff members on an Employment Standards Act (ESA) Critical Illness Leave (minor child or an adult) or on an ESA Family Medical Leave will be entitled to receive 85% of their base pay less any Employment Insurance benefit the member receives for a maximum of 8 weeks. Members on either of the above ESA Leaves who are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) are required to apply for EI, but the benefit is not contingent upon receiving EI.A member can apply in writing to their department head, who will determine whether to grant an extension to this 8-week arrangement and respond in writing to the Staff member.  
  2. Enhanced paid bereavement leaves will become effective 1 May 2022. Details of the enhanced leaves are as follows: Staff members shall be entitled to 4 weeks of bereavement leave, with 100% of pay, on the death of their spouse/partner, child, or step-child, and to 1 week of bereavement leave, with 100% of pay, on the death of any other immediate family member, such as a parent or sibling. If a Staff member wishes to take a longer period of bereavement leave, they may apply in writing to their department head, who will determine whether to grant an extension to the arrangement and respond in writing to the Staff member.”

These changes to compassionate care and bereavement leaves are significant for UW staff. You may notice that UW Policy has not yet been updated to reflect the above enhanced benefits. A Policy Development Committee has been established to create the formal UW Faculty and Staff Policy, but the enhanced benefits are available now. So, if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing a leave to grieve a loss or care for a critically ill family member, consider these practical steps:

  • For a bereavement leave, let your manager know that you need to take a bereavement leave and record the absence as Bereavement in Workday.
  • For a compassionate care leave (which includes Critical Illness and Family Medical leaves), be sure to review your rights and responsibilities at the appropriate link above. Then notify your manager and/or the UW benefits team (benefits@uwaterloo.ca) and they can give further direction.

Until the official UW FS Policy is in place, members are encouraged to contact us at UWSA for guidance, support, and advocacy when accessing these enhanced benefits, or when supporting your direct reports through challenging situations.

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