KFA Update: Remote Work Framework
Dear KFA Colleagues,
Many faculty members have reached out with concerns regarding the Remote Work Framework (“the framework”). We want to assure all members that the framework was arrived at though a negotiation between the KFA and the Employer, and that your rights under the KPU-KFA Collective Agreement have not been violated.
Our advice is to follow the Employer’s direction to fill out the framework.
The primary purpose of the Remote Work Framework is for the Employer to comply with WorkSafeBC requirements and ensure faculty members are covered by WorkSafe. WorkSafeBC is the legal entity established through the Workers Compensation Act under which both the Employer and faculty members (“workers” under the act) have specific responsibilities. One of these joint responsibilities is to maintain a safe work environment.
You may ask: we have been doing remote work for years—what has changed? In short, working conditions resulting from the pandemic raised the Employer’s awareness of the extent of their WorkSafe obligations surrounding remote work.
Originally, the framework appeared as something called the “Remote Work Agreement” in 2021. At that time, the KFA position was that the Employer was contracting out their responsibilities to faculty members, and that the Employer needed to properly negotiate the agreement with the Kwantlen Faculty Association. The KFA then filed a grievance on the issue and sent this advice to faculty.
After many months of negotiation, the Employer and the KFA reached agreement in Summer 2022 that a new form would be sent out to faculty, and this form would be a Remote Work Framework rather than an agreement. The Employer sent a communication to faculty on August 25, 2022 on the matter of the framework.
On Friday, September 16th, 2022 the Employer informed the KFA that they had further consulted with WorkSafeBC. Our understanding is that, as result of these consultations, the Employer realized the definition of remote work was significantly more all-encompassing than initially thought. Coupled with this newly realized information was the fact that very few faculty members had signed the agreement. Thus, the Employer was open to significant risk due to their obligations under WorkSafeBC. The net result is the new message from the Employer that faculty must sign the agreement by September 30th if they are performing or anticipate engaging in remote work off-campus. Faculty continue to have the right to work remotely from campus.
Since September 16th, the KFA has been considering whether or not the negotiated Remote Work Framework is still appropriate given its new wide-ranging application.
After consideration, our advice remains to follow the Employer’s direction to fill out the framework.