You are now in the main content area

Hours of Work Policy

  • Owner:  Human Resources
  • Approver:  Vice-President, Administration and Operations
  • Approval Dates:  March 2004, August 2007

I.    Purpose

To provide guidelines to managers regarding work hours that meet operational requirements while considering employees’ preferences and external obligations.      

II.    Policy

Hours of work, work schedules, lunch breaks and other related work time decisions fall within the University’s discretionary authority.  Decisions regarding these matters shall be governed by the operational and service requirements of the University.  The University reserves the right to alter work-time arrangements as it deems necessary, but shall exercise this right in a fair and reasonable manner.

III.    Principle

In order to achieve its mission, the University must use its resources effectively and efficiently. One of the most important resources is our employees.  Flexible work hours can allow us to support our employees’ need to balance work and personal responsibilities, without additional cost. 

IV.    Application

This policy applies to all career and term employees.  This policy and its attendant procedures are superseded by a collective agreement in which specific hours of work have been negotiated between the University and union/association.

V.    Responsibility

Managers:  Managers are responsible for ensuring that the operational needs of their respective departments/operations are met by setting, approving and altering work schedules; approving lunch breaks and monitoring work-time related issues to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness. They are also responsible for supporting and approving employee requests for flexible work hours, where possible.

Employees:   Employees are required to report to work on a regular basis, to comply with the provisions of this policy and to adhere to the schedules and work-time related issues as communicated and approved by their respective managers.

VI.    Normal Hours of Work

a.    Normally, the work week at the University consists of 36.25 hours spread over five days resulting in a 7.25 hour workday.

b.    Within this total (7.25 hours per day) short breaks may be allowed each morning and afternoon;  a 45 minute lunch break being additional to the required number of working hours.

c.    The Employment Standards Act of Ontario prohibits continuous work of more than five hours without a break for a meal and the required length of the workday cannot be reduced on the premise that staff members will forego their meal break. 

d.    The time for a meal break is determined for each staff member by his/her supervisor, based on the employee’s work schedule, and with due attention being paid to the staff members’ preference.

VII.    Alternative Work Schedules and Shifts

a.    Alternative work schedules are subject to the specific operational demands of the departments.  All alternative work schedules must have the approval of the department manager.

b.    The purpose of alternative work schedules is to enable the employee to select the work schedule which best suits his/her personal needs and allows for a better balance between work and family responsibilities, while also allowing University departments to meet operational demands and objectives.

c.    The normal starting and closing times of administrative offices are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Subject to service requirements, the above hours may be varied for the convenience of the staff member resulting in a working day starting at an agreed upon time, and terminating eight hours later.

d.    Notwithstanding the above, there are many University departments which operate and provide service to our students, faculty and staff on alternative work schedules.  Nothing in this policy prohibits the University and its departments in requiring employees to work on schedules other than those identified above to meet operational and service requirements.

e.    Where the University alters established work patterns and schedules which result in change in shift schedules, including new work schedules, or schedules including work to be performed on a Saturday and/or Sunday, it shall provide the employee(s) affected with appropriate notice, as soon as practicable, but in any event no less than four (4) weeks notice shall be provided.

VIII.    Compressed Work Week

a.    Subject to overriding consideration of service requirements it may also be possible to meet the preference of some staff members to work a compressed work week, working full time hours of 36.25 per week in reduced number of (ie. less than 5) days.  As an example, a four day work week could involve three days of 9 hours and 50 minutes, and one day of 9 hours and 45 minutes and a 45 minute lunch break (unpaid), working from 8:00 a.m. to 5:50 p.m., and 8:00 am to 5:45 p.m. on the last of the four days worked in the week.  Decisions regarding specific details of such arrangements are within the authority of the department manager.

b.     A staff member wishing to adopt a work pattern other than the normal Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. shall make an appropriate written request to the supervisor. 

c.     The supervisor shall consider all such requests of staff within the unit and submit a recommendation in respect of them together with an overall work plan for the unit, through channels to the senior director/dean.

d.     When the latter has made a decision on the recommendation the supervisor shall inform the staff members concerned of the work schedule established for them.

e.     On the same authority a change in the work schedule of a staff member may be made when it is considered that the previously established schedule has become incompatible with the changed service requirements either permanently or during a period of particularly intensive activity in the unit.

f.    In any week in which the University is closed for a day or more because of a statutory or declared holiday those staff members for whom a compressed work week schedule has been established, will have the arrangements modified, as required, to give the employee concerned the benefit of the reduction of the total weekly working time resulting from the incidence of such closure.

g.   In making their overall work pattern determinations for staff under their control those concerned should bear in mind that, except as otherwise determined by a vice president, each organizational unit should be open, even if at times with reduced staff, Monday to Friday at least from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

h.    Notwithstanding any of the above provisions, other hours of work, for example night work, staggered or shift work, part time work and other variations of the normal work pattern, as required by the University in its various operations, or by special personal circumstances or as foreseen in any collective agreement may be established for staff members on the authority specified in the preceding paragraphs above and in consultation with Human Resources.

IX.    Jurisdiction

This policy falls under the jurisdiction of the Vice President, Administration and Finance. The interpretation and application of this policy is the responsibility of the Assistant Vice President, Human Resources. The Vice President, Administration and Finance makes final decisions under this policy, where required.