Disconnecting from Work Policy
- Related Documents: Hours of Work Policy, Flexible Work Policy, Accommodation for Persons with Disabilities Policy, Vacation Policy, Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy
- Owner: Human Resources
- Approver: Vice President Administration and Operations
- Approval Date: June 2, 2022
To support University Employees in balancing their working and personal lives, whether working traditional hours in the workplace, remotely, or flexibly, this Policy has been implemented to encourage Employees to Disconnect from Work outside of their working hours in accordance with and subject to this Policy.
The University recognizes that Employees benefit from a balance between work and personal responsibilities, and that a work-life balance plays a significant role in productivity and wellbeing. The ability to disconnect from work is important for an individual’s wellbeing, and helps Employees achieve a healthy and sustainable work-life balance.
At the same time, given the nature of the University, special circumstances or emergencies may occasionally arise outside of an Employee’s normal established working hours that require flexibility on the part of the Employee to immediately address an issue.
The University recognizes that established working hours may differ depending on the employee group, requirements of the position and department.
II. Scope and Application
This Policy applies to all Employees, whether they are working remotely, at the University, or have a Flexible Work Arrangement.
This Policy does not amend or supersede any collective agreement articles, including those related to hours of work, on-call expectations, overtime or any other parameter related to employment rights and responsibilities. Where this Policy and an applicable collective agreement differ, the collective agreement provisions will supersede.
Work performed by third-party contractors or vendors is outside the scope of this Policy.
The University may establish exceptions, introduce or extend deadlines, or amend this Policy as may be necessary or deemed prudent by the University, having regard to relevant factors, and the University’s activities and operations.
“Disconnecting from Work” means not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, text messages, video calls, or the sending or reviewing of other messages, so as to be free from the performance of work.
“Employee” means each University employee as the term employee is defined by the ESA.
“ESA” means Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41 and all regulations and amendments thereto.
“Flexible Work Arrangement” means an arrangement between the University and an Employee in which the Employee has an appropriate level of flexibility in how they perform their work that typically includes working at a location that is not the University Premises or on a modified schedule. A Flexible Work Arrangement includes remote and hybrid work settings.
“Leader” means a person to whom an Employee directly reports concerning matters related to their employment and who exercises full supervisory responsibility for an Employee. This may include executives, chairs, directors, deans, managers and supervisors, as applicable.
“Policy” means this Disconnecting from Work policy and all related procedures.
“Special Circumstances/Emergency” means a circumstance that departs from the usual routine and requires an immediate response outside of routine work expectations in order to address an issue.
“University” means Toronto Metropolitan University.
- An Employee’s ability to Disconnect from Work depends on the University’s business and/or operational needs, and the duties and obligations of the Employee’s position, subject to an Employee’s employment contract, applicable collective agreement and/or their minimum statutory entitlements under the ESA.
- Employees are not entitled to a right to Disconnect from Work beyond what is within their individual employment contract, applicable collective agreement and/or their minimum statutory entitlements under the ESA, which may include rights or entitlements speaking to: hours of work and hours free from work, overtime pay, meal and/or rest periods, public holidays and public holiday pay, and vacation.
- All Employees have a duty to respect other Employees’ right to Disconnect from Work by not routinely emailing, calling, or setting meetings outside of work hours, wherever possible.
- A Leader may contact and require an Employee to work beyond and outside of their work hours in the case of Special Circumstances/Emergencies subject to any rights or entitlements the Employee may have under their employment contract, applicable collective agreement and/or their minimum statutory entitlements under the ESA.
V. Roles and Responsibilities
The University supports and aims to foster a workplace culture that promotes and values Disconnecting from Work and so will take steps to ensure that all Employees, regardless of their place of work, are:
- informed of what their work hours are reasonably expected to be, and are informed of the circumstances, if any, in which they will be expected to engage in work-related communications or meetings outside their work hours;
- able to take applicable meal, rest periods and hours free from work as required by law, contract, or applicable collective agreement language; and
- able to take vacation or other leave entitlements as required by law, contract or applicable collective agreement language.
- inform employees who they supervise of what their work hours are reasonably expected to be and of the circumstances, if any, in which they will be expected to engage in work-related communications or meetings outside their working hours;
- ensure that work and work communications and meetings routinely occur during work hours as appropriate to the position, employee group and departmental operational requirements; and
- respond to questions or concerns regarding Disconnecting from Work from those Employees they supervise.
The University expects all Employees to comply with the following in the course of their work. Employees must:
- co-operate fully with any applicable mechanism utilized by the University to record working time or update their working status (e.g. out-of-office messages, scheduled sent) as applicable, including when working remotely, flexibly or when mobile;
- engage in work, meetings, and work communication during work hours as appropriate to the position, employee group, and departmental operational requirements; and
- notify their Leader in writing if they believe they are experiencing any impediments to Disconnecting from Work.
VI. Posting, Notice and Retention
- The University shall provide a copy of this Policy to each Employee, regardless of their position within 30 calendar days of implementation. Should any changes be made to the Policy after its implementation, the University shall provide each Employee of the University a copy of the revised Policy within 30 days of the changes being made.
- The University shall provide a copy of this Policy to all new Employees upon onboarding and within 30 calendar days of the Employee commencing employment with the University.
VII. Jurisdiction and Compliance
This policy falls under the jurisdiction of the Vice President, Administration and Operations. The interpretation and application of this policy is the responsibility of the Chief Human Resource Officer, Human Resources. The Vice President, Administration and Operations makes final decisions under this policy where required.