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Flexible Work Policy

I.    Purpose

The University recognizes the benefits of providing more flexibility to Employees in where and how they work.  Leaders across the University can establish working arrangements that will benefit Employees and the University. 

This policy outlines the rules and expectations of the University, Leaders and Employees applicable to the approval and operation of Flexible Work Arrangements at the University.    

II.    Scope and Application

This policy applies to all Employees and Leaders at the University, except for members of the Ryerson Faculty Association (RFA) and members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3904. This policy applies to RFA members when they are in the position of a Leader.

Positions that support on-campus operational needs or facilities, or require the use of on-campus tools and resources may not be suitable for flexible work.

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.   Further processes and particulars, and other applicable procedural requirements may be developed in the Procedures of this Policy.   

III.    Definitions        

Employees” means everyone employed by the University except for members of the Ryerson Faculty Association and members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3904.

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.

Flexible Work Location” means the location where an Employee undertakes work for the University not on University Premises under an approved Flexible Work Arrangement, most often the Employee’s home.

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, Leaders and supervisors, as applicable.

Primary Work Location” means the location where an Employee works three or more days per week.

Procedures” means the procedures to this Flexible Work Policy as may be instituted by the University from time to time.

University” means Ryerson University.

University Premises” means any physical space or grounds that are owned, leased, licensed, operated, or otherwise occupied by the University, but does not include premises leased or licensed to external parties for their exclusive use by the University.

University Property” means all equipment, supplies and information that are paid for, reimbursed by or otherwise owned by the University.

IV.    Principles

The following principles are applicable and fundamental to this Policy:

  1. The quality of the student experience, course delivery and research are fundamental to the University’s mandate and must be a central consideration for all flexibility decisions.
  2. Organizational flexibility is both ‘where and when’ and ‘what and how’ work gets done.
  3. Supports the attraction and retention of our workforce.
  4. Ensure transparency of decision-making rationale behind levels of flexibility provided.
  5. Empower faculties and administrative departments to drive their own flexibility strategy.
  6. Root all decisions that impact the workforce in equity, diversity and inclusion.
  7. Provide the support necessary for Leaders and Employees to adapt to and succeed in a flexible work environment.
  8. Uphold the responsibilities of Leaders and Employees to deliver on their work regardless of work location.
  9. Balance fiscal considerations to ensure we invest in the right way.

V.    Policy

A.    Approval of Flexible Work Arrangements

1.     Leaders are responsible for assessing, approving, modifying, or discontinuing Flexible Work Arrangements for positions that report to them in accordance with the Procedures. The decision to approve, deny, terminate, or otherwise modify a Flexible Work Arrangement is at the discretion of the University.

2.     In making the determination to approve a Flexible Work Arrangement for a certain position, the Leader should take into account:

i.

the nature of the duties, tasks, and overall functions of the work undertaken by the position;

ii.

the environment in which the Employee is required to perform the work;                                                                                

iii.

the privacy and confidentiality of information required by an Employee in the position in the course of their duties;

iv.

applicable unit or departmental practices; 

v.

the operational needs, efficiency, and productivity of the unit of which that position is a part; and

vi.

the effect of the proposed Flexible Work Arrangement on individual or team productivity or operations, or the productivity or operations of the University as a whole.

3.     Even with an approved Flexible Work Arrangement, an Employee can be required by their Leader to physically come to work on the University Premises on days they might normally be working remotely for any work-related purpose, such as for meetings, training, projects, and/or as otherwise required.  Leaders will provide sufficient prior notice of such a requirement where possible, however, such prior notification is not a prerequisite of attendance.

4.     Unless otherwise agreed to by the University as set out in this policy, Employees must reside in and perform their work in the Province of Ontario, within a location that allows them to attend the University premises when needed at the Leader's discretion.  An Employee’s Leader may approve an Employee’s request to work outside the Province of Ontario for a limited duration, maximum period not to extend beyond one calendar month (31 days) in a one-year period on a case-by-case basis.  Approvals for an Employee to work outside the Province of Ontario for a period of time beyond one calendar month (31 days), may only be granted in rare and extenuating circumstances, with the approval of a Vice-President/Provost in accordance with the Procedures.   All such approvals must be documented and reviewed by Human Resources.

B.    Impact of Flexible Work Arrangements on Conditions of Employment

1.     Approved Flexible Work Arrangements do not change or otherwise amend an Employee’s terms and conditions of employment with the University, including compensation and benefits, employment status, work responsibilities, and required training.  A Flexible Work Arrangement is not a right of employment and the University retains its contractual rights, including the right to assign work, to reorganize the workplace and the work pursuant to the applicable collective agreement, employment contract, policies, and laws.

2.     A Flexible Work Arrangement must be consistent with the provisions of any applicable collective agreement or employment policies. 

3.     Individuals participating in a Flexible Work Arrangement are subject to University policies and procedures, and applicable legislation and regulatory requirements regardless of their Flexible Work Location.

C.    Working Hours

1.     The number of hours an Employee is required to work per week will not change because of a Flexible Work Arrangement. 

2.     All Employees working under a Flexible Work Arrangement must actively work during the University’s normal working hours unless otherwise directed or agreed by the Leader as part of the Flexible Work Arrangement. 

3.     While working in a Flexible Work Location, Employees must be available by telephone, text or instant messaging, email, or other agreed-upon methods of contact during the agreed-upon hours of work to the extent that they would be so available if working on University Premises.

D.    Suitable Workspace

1.     Employees' Primary Work Location is determined based on the number of days the Employee usually works in that location and is outlined in the Procedures. The University will provide a suitable workspace (which may be shared space) for Employees whose Primary Work Location is remote while working on University Premises.

2.     Employees are responsible for ensuring a suitable workspace within their Flexible Work Location, having regard to, without limitation, safety including ergonomics, privacy, and confidentiality.

3.     Employees must not receive visitors, hold in-person meetings, or otherwise conduct in-person duties with other individuals at a Flexible Work Location.  If an Employee is required to meet with others for reasons relating to the performance of their duties, arrangements must be made to do so on the University’s Premises or virtually using software that is prescribed by the University (e.g. Zoom, Google Meet, etc.).

E.    Equipment and Property

1.     The University will provide the reasonable and necessary equipment and supplies required by Employees participating in a Flexible Work Arrangement to perform their work at their Primary Work Location as set out in the Procedures. 

2.     University Property must be returned upon termination of the Flexible Work Arrangement or the Employee’s employment. Without limitation, all copies or reproductions of information must be returned or destroyed. Employees must take all reasonable steps to protect any University resources from theft, damage or misuse.

3.     The University is not responsible for loss, damage or wear of Employee-owned equipment or property. Repair and/or replacement costs and liability for privately owned equipment used while conducting business on behalf of the University is the responsibility of the Employee.

F.    Health and Safety

1.     Employees must comply with health and safety policies, standards and regulations while working remotely, including taking every appropriate and reasonable precaution to maintain safe working conditions at their Flexible Work Location. Employees should be aware of the Flexible Work Location Safety Guidelines.

2.     Employees seeking medical accommodation for an Ergonomic Setup at a Flexible Work Location must do so in accordance with applicable University policy.

3.     In the event of an injury, while performing work tasks at a Flexible Work Location, the Employee should follow the same reporting procedures as if they are on University Premises.

4.     Employees are responsible for complying with all applicable laws and insurance requirements.

G.    Privacy, Confidentiality, and Information and Data Security

Regardless of an Employee’s working location, Employees are responsible for protecting the confidentiality of University information. This includes adhering to all information technology and privacy policies and ensuring that unauthorized personnel do not have access to University systems and confidential information. Any breach in security or violation of any IT policy may result in immediate termination of a Flexible Work Arrangement and/or disciplinary action. Employees should be aware of and implement the University’s minimum cybersecurity controls.

H.    Costs

1.     Employees are responsible for costs related to their Flexible Work Location (e.g. sufficient quality Internet access, utilities, home maintenance, property or liability insurance, or other incidental expenses).

2.     Employees will not be reimbursed for any costs not pre-approved by their Leader in accordance with University procedures and guidelines.  Employees are responsible for travel and parking costs incurred between their Flexible Work Location and the University Premises.

3.     The University does not take on any responsibility with respect to the decision of an Employee to make a deduction on their tax return. Any communication or resource materials provided to the Employee by the University in respect of potential deductions are not to be considered tax advice.

VI.     Compliance

Ryerson University will manage compliance and enforcement of this Policy in accordance with existing processes in place.