logo

Member Portal

This material is a guide for FSA members regarding excess work and its remuneration. In brief, we ask that members not volunteer to work excessive hours on a voluntary basis without compensation. Instead, we ask that members insist on being compensated, or—in rare cases and only after consulting with the FSA—refuse to do the work.

This material is not meant to capture the small variations and fluctuations that occur in an environment of collegial governance—the usual give and take many Departments and work units have with their managers and colleagues.

Our concern is with excessive volumes of work that exceed the Collective Agreement’s restrictions, in particular with workloads that increase and do not subsequently decrease in a reasonable period of time.

Though many of you are content with how things are run in your Department, we ask that you consider the situation of some of our members who are experiencing overwork. By standing up for fairness in your Department, you protect the rights in the Collective Agreement and consequently are helping those colleagues facing serious issues of overwork.

These FAQs do not constitute legal advice. For any clarification about the answers provided below or for any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us!

 

Part A

Regular Teaching Faculty members (Part-Time and Full-Time but not Part-Time Studies)

 

1. What do I need to know about being compensated for excessive teaching work?

The FSA’s Collective Agreement divides a regular teaching faculty member’s work into two “buckets.” The first is for contact-hours work. The next is for non-contact hours work. Depending on circumstances, your excess work will fall into one or the other category or both. Rules regarding overtime for each category differ.

See additional FAQs below.

2. What is the definition of a contact hour?

“Contact hours” are not defined in the Collective Agreement. Much will depend on the past practice at the Institute and in your Department. For example, teaching a course online is regularly credited with contact hours, even though there is no face-to-face contact with students.

3. How should the Department workload excessive teaching work?

The best practice would be to meet and ensure work is fairly distributed under Articles 14 and 8. For example, instructors who receive a new course they have never taught before can be credited with an extra teaching hour for that course.

Alternatively, they may be relieved of other work in order to accommodate extra effort. These types of practices can be used to allocate excessive workload.

As a note: Online teaching can, in some cases, become more complex than face-to-face teaching.

In these cases, Departments will often decide to increase the amount of time recognized for complex online teaching vis-a-vis the face-to-face class. However, for many courses, it is conceivable that the online format may be very similar to that of the face-to-face and would not warrant an increase in time devoted to that class.

4. If my contact hours rise beyond my usual amount, will I get overtime pay? What are the rules?

The Collective Agreement permits an individual’s contact hours to go as high as 22 hours per week. One would subtract the 5 hours of office hours, leaving 17 instructional contact hours per week. Beyond this point, overtime is payable.

5. Is contact hours overtime mandatory? Do I have to work it?

Going beyond the 22 hours per week (17+5 office hours) of contact hours, the Collective Agreement requires approval of the FSA (the union), BCIT, and the Department.

If you wish to request an increase in contact hours, please email us at fsa@bcit.ca.

6. What happens if my contact hours have gone up, but have not received the proper approvals (Q5) to go beyond 22 in any week?

If your contact hours have surpassed 22 hours in a week, you should speak with your manager and BCIT Human Resources. Indicate this workload is in excess of what is permitted under the Collective Agreement.

Contact the FSA at fsa@bcit.ca if this issue is not quickly resolved.

7. I have heard there are also limits on the average amount of contact-hours work my entire Department can do. Is that correct?

That is correct.

The Collective Agreement says that a Department’s “mean” – i.e. average – of student contact hours shall not exceed 20 hours per week in any term. This is calculated by subtracting any hours taught by your manager.

Keep an eye on this average over the term and let your Department, your manager and BCIT Human Resources know if it is exceeding the threshold.

If this is not resolved, contact the FSA: fsa@bcit.ca.

8. Thank you for the info about contact hours, but my concern is about non-contact hours. My workload outside the normal contact hours is going to increase or has gone up. What do I need to know or do?

The Collective Agreement is clear that “traditional” levels of non-contact hours cannot increase.

Of course, this type of work fluctuates somewhat, but the FSA’s concern is when it goes up and stays up for a significant period of time. The only way this can happen is via approval of the employee in question, their Manager, their Dean, and the FSA.

You should speak with your Department, your manager, or BCIT Human Resources. Indicate to them that the levels of non-contact hours have increased and violate the Collective Agreement.

Please contact the FSA at fsa@bcit.ca if this situation is not resolved quickly.

9. In spite of the fact that I have not received the FSA’s or anyone’s permission to exceed the limits for contact or non-contact hours, I am being told by a manager that I must take on the extra work. What do I do now?

First, make sure that this is coming from a manager, and not a Program Head, Coordinator, or anyone in the FSA bargaining unit. Only a manager, such as an Associate Dean, Dean, or Director, can order you to work.

Secondly, get clarity that this is an order, such that if it is refused you may face discipline. A strongly worded suggestion is not an order, for example. The FSA recommends that, where possible, an order to work excessive hours is placed in writing, such as an email. However, orders delivered verbally are also valid.

Once you receive an order to work excessive hours, quickly inform the FSA; we will review the situation and may grieve on your behalf to obtain compensation or to have the extra work stopped.

We generally recommend that you follow orders to work. Failing to do so can lead to discipline for insubordination, up to and including termination of your employment.

The principle of this in labour law is “work now grieve later”: members should complete the work assignment but can grieve on the basis that they did not volunteer. There is an exception to this rule: if you believe an order to work would jeopardize your health, we recommend you exercise your right to refuse unsafe work.

10. In summary, what you are saying is, we should not be volunteering to work extra hours, but when asked or encouraged, we should insist on either being compensated or being ordered to do the work?

Basically, yes. Of course there is the usual fluctuation, and give and take, experienced by all faculty in an environment of collegial governance. We are concerned with significant increases that violate the Collective Agreement.

By volunteering without being ordered, you may possibly give up your rights but also negatively impact those of your fellow members in the FSA. Once you receive an order to work excessive hours, we may grieve on your behalf to obtain compensation or have the excess work stopped.

Part B

Specialized Faculty, Assistant Instructors, and Technical Staff (Part-Time and Full-Time)

 

1. What is the rate of overtime?

Any hours you work over 35 hours per week will be paid at time and a half. Additionally, if you are required to work on a day of rest or a holiday, double time will be paid.

2. How many hours of overtime can I work?

There is no requirement to work more than an average of ten (10) hours per week of overtime in any given term.

3. If I have to travel to the Institute to conduct assigned overtime duties, will I get paid for that travel time?

You will earn overtime on the portal-to-portal time it takes to go from your home to the institute. This means that if you are required to travel to the institute for assigned overtime, the time it takes for you to drive from your home to the institute is time that is included in your overtime accrual.

4. What do I need to be most aware of during an emergency situation and overtime?

In a normal situation, you may refuse overtime without fear of reprisal. However, in an “emergency situation,” overtime cannot be refused if your manager assigns it to you.

However, your manager must notify the FSA in writing at least one (1) working day after the assignment of overtime being assigned to you.

5. How will I get compensated for overtime?

Article 8.5.8 of the Collective Agreement states that overtime will be paid as a lump sum or as equivalent time off at the option of the employee. If you elect to take time off, the time off must be scheduled by mutual agreement with Employer.

The time off must be scheduled in the fiscal year in which it is earned. If the time off cannot be scheduled within the fiscal year, the overtime will be paid out no later than the pay period that encompasses March 31.

6. I think I am going to work more than an average of 10 hours of OT per week over the term. What do I do?

First, speak to your manager and BCIT Human Resources and alert them that the Collective Agreement limits may be violated.

If you believe you are being ordered to do this excessive work, make sure that this is coming directly from your manager, not a Program Head, Coordinator or anyone in the FSA bargaining unit. Only a manager, such as an Associate Dean, Dean, or Director can order you to work.

Second, get clarity that this is an order, such that if you refused you may face discipline. A strongly worded suggestion is not an order. We recommend that, where possible, an order to work is placed in writing, such as in an email. However, orders delivered face-to-face are also valid.

Contact the FSA and we will review your situation, and possibly grieve to stop the excess workload.

7. Can I refuse an order to work excess hours?

We recommend that you follow orders to work.

Failing to do so can lead to discipline for insubordination, up to and including termination of your employment.

There is an exception. If you believe an order to work would jeopardize your health, we recommend you exercise your right to refuse unsafe work. Please see this WorkSafeBC resource on refusing unsafe work.

Contact the FSA if you receive an order to work excessive hours.

8. In summary, what you are saying is, we should not be volunteering to work extra hours, but when asked or encouraged, we should insist on either being compensated or being ordered to do the work?

Basically, yes. Of course there is the usual fluctuation, and give and take, experienced by all members in an environment of collegial governance.

We are concerned with significant increases that violate the Collective Agreement. By volunteering without being ordered, you give up your rights but also negatively impact those of your fellow members in the FSA.

FSA Newsletter

January 2020, Vol 51 Issue 2

Check out our latest newsletter including items about bargaining, member services, collegial governance, and best practices!

January 2020, Vol 51, Issue 2 (PDF)

Newsletter Archive
  • FSA Statements on COVID

    The FSA is posting statements on COVID-19 on our blog.
    Read more!
  • What are your rights?

    The Collective Agreement, along with various memoranda of agreement, regulate the terms and conditions of employment of FSA members.
    Read your CA