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Disconnecting from Work Policy

Disconnecting from Work Policy

Topic: Employees, Employment and Workplace
Approval Authority: President and Vice-Chancellor
Approval Date: May 20, 2022
Effective Date: June 1, 2022
Last Revised: N/A
  1. Introduction
    1. The health and wellbeing of employees is of the utmost importance and the University encourages and supports our employees in prioritizing their own well-being.
    2. Disconnecting from work is important and helps employees achieve a healthy and sustainable work-life balance. Disconnecting from work means to not engage in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or the sending or reviewing of other messages, to be free from the performance of work.
  2. Purpose
    1. To support our employees in balancing their working and personal lives, whether working in the workplace or a hybrid working arrangement, the University has implemented this Disconnecting from Work Policy (the “Policy”) to encourage employees to disconnect from work outside of their working hours in accordance with and subject to this Policy.
  3. Authority, Scope and Application
    1. This Policy is enacted by the President of York University under the authority of subsection 13(2)(b) of the York University Act (1965).
    2. This Policy applies to all employees, as defined by the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), regardless of their place of work. For clarity, “employee” under this Policy means only those employees of the University which are considered employees under the ESA.
    3. This Policy should be read in conjunction with the University’s associated policies, procedures, guidelines, applicable collective agreement provisions and any relevant and applicable legislation, and any other policy that may become applicable and/or relevant.
  4. Policy
    1. Shared Obligations:
      1. University: 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:
        1. informed of what their working 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 outside their working hours;
        2. able to take applicable meal, rest periods and hours free from work as required by law, contract or applicable collective agreement language; and
        3. able to take vacation or other leave entitlements as required by law, contract or applicable collective agreement language.
      2. People Managers: The University expects that People Managers will:
        1. facilitate implementation of the University’s obligations under this Policy for those employees they supervise, including efforts to inform employees of what their working hours are reasonably expected to be and of the circumstances, if any, in which they will be expected to engage in work-related communications outside their working hours;
        2. be mindful of employees’ working hours; and
        3. respond to questions or concerns regarding disconnecting from work from those employees they supervise
      3. Employees: The University expects all employees to comply with the following in the course of their work. Employees must:
        1. co-operate fully with any applicable mechanism utilised by the University to record working time or update their working status (e.g., out-of-office messages) as applicable, including when working remotely, flexibly or when mobile;
        2. be mindful of colleagues’, vendors’ and other third parties’ working hours (e.g., by not routinely emailing or calling outside of working hours or expecting answers or responses outside of working hours);
        3. notify their manager, in writing, of any meal, rest, break or hours-free-from-work period (or other right or entitlement) which they feel they were entitled to but were unable to use due to performing work for the University on a particular occasion and why this occurred;
        4. speak with their manager if they feel their workload is preventing them from being able to take meal, rest, break or periods free from work that they are entitled to, or otherwise disconnect from work.
    2. Ability to Disconnect from Work
      1. 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, Standard Operating Procedures, and/or their ESA entitlements.
      2. Nothing in the Policy precludes the University or other employees of the University from contacting colleagues, vendors/other third parties or other employees outside of what may be considered working hours or standard business hours, subject to any rights or entitlements the receiving colleague or employee may have under their employment contract, applicable collective agreement, Standard Operating Procedures, and/or their ESA entitlements.
      3. This Policy does not afford employees a “right to disconnect” beyond what is within their individual employment contract, applicable collective agreement, Standard Operating Procedures, and/or their ESA entitlements, 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.
      4. Nothing in this Policy is intended to amend or supersede any relevant provision of any applicable collective agreement.
    3. Reporting Concerns
      1. All employees are expected and required to report any concerns or issues they may have which they feel are impacting their ability to disconnect from work.
      2. Employees are encouraged to report such concerns or issues, in writing, to their manager. If that is not appropriate or the matter cannot be resolved by doing so, employees should direct their concerns or issues to Human Resources.
      3. All employees are also strongly encouraged to seek professional and/or medical assistance as they see fit if such concerns relate to their health and wellbeing. The University may also have appropriate resources and supports available to employees.
      4. Employees will not be subject to reprisal for reporting such concerns as outlined above or for inquiring about, exercising or attempting to exercise any rights as provided under the ESA.
    4. Posting, Notice and Retention
      1. 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.
      2. 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.
      3. The University shall retain a copy of this Policy and any revised version of this Policy for a period of three years after it ceases to be in effect.
  5. Roles and Responsibilities
    1. The Vice-President Equity, People & Culture or designate will be responsible for implementation of this Policy and may establish procedures, regulations, and guidelines pursuant hereto from time-to-time.
    2. This policy will be reviewed every five (5) years by the Vice-President Equity, People & Culture, or designate. During the review, the Policy will remain in full force and effect.
Legislative History: Approved by President and Vice-Chancellor 20 May 2022
Date of Next Review: 2027