Term Contracts and Probation
We’ve recently received questions about the use of limited-term contracts as a sort of probation. Senior Labour Relations Representative George Talbott explains why the practice fails to comply with our Collective Agreement.
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Term contracts cannot be used as a form of probation. Management should not use a term hire to gauge employee talent or screen for likeability. Rather, the use of term hires in the collective agreement is strictly prescribed. Term hires can be used to
- backfill someone on leave,
- to deal with a temporary increase in workload, or
- deal with unanticipated circumstances in instructional departments or where those departments are unable to meet training needs in their area.
If a Department wishes to hire a new regular member, its selection committee should draft a posting for a permanent hire. It should not rely on term postings. Where a member become aware of a term hire being used to test a new employee who will later likely become permanent, they should alert the FSA to permit us to grieve.
Instead of using term appointments to screen new hires, Article 12 sets the new employee probation period as one year. This time is more than sufficient to determine if an employee is fit to do the job. Within Article 12 are also managerial obligations to meet regularly with the new employee to provide feedback.
The above information is not directed at auxiliary contracts, such as PTS contracts, which are a separate category, and should never be used for regular work in the FSA bargaining unit.