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Vacation and Accountable Time

By Diane Walsh, Member-At-Large

Vacation and accountable time are topics that always seem to generate a lot of questions from faculty members: what are the differences between vacation days and PD days? What is accountable time? How many days of each do I get? How do I report vacation,  PD and accountable time? Here’s a basic overview of what the Collective Agreement has to say about vacation and accountable time.

Basic information. Our work as faculty members is complex and encompasses many different and varied activities. Our working time is all considered to be “accountable” time, regardless of what activities we’re performing. PD time and vacation time are both defined in terms of numbers of days. PD time is accountable time, or in other words it is time for which reporting is required, and PD time is specifically set aside for you to engage in activities that you undertake in an effort to develop yourself as a faculty member. Vacation time is non-accountable time, or in other words it is time you are entitled to take and for which no reporting is required. 

Accountable Time. Accountable time includes all activities that are part of regular duties, including professional development and other accountable activities. Article 12.01(a) says that faculty members “are accountable for 10 months of the year. The 10 months accountable time includes such activities as teaching, the counselling of students, curriculum/program development, professional development and participation on a variety of educational committees.” The break between Christmas and New Year’s is considered accountable time and does not require attendance on campus for most faculty members (12.16), and Reading Break (12.19) is also considered accountable time.

Entitlements. There are some differences between entitlements for different classifications of faculty. Regular faculty and full time NR2 faculty are entitled to 42 days of vacation under 12.12(a) and 21 days of PD time under 12.01(d). Part-time regular and part-time NR2 faculty members are entitled to the same number of days, but the days will be paid out at the percentage worked. In other words, if you are a 50% regular faculty member, you still get 42 days of vacation pay, but the pay will be at your normal rate, 50% of a full time salary. NR1 faculty members’ contract rate is inclusive of vacation pay, and there is no specific designation of numbers of non-teaching days.

Professional Development activities. The Collective Agreement says in 16.03(a) that professional development is “for the maintenance and development of the faculty members’ professional competence and effectiveness. It is agreed that maintenance of currency of subject knowledge, the improvement of performance of faculty duties, and the maintenance and improvement of professional competence, including instructional skills, are the primary professional development activities of faculty members.” Under 12.01(e), the purposes for professional development are described to “include maintaining currency in subject matter, instructional processes, technological developments, learning materials, library holdings and professional skills related to their position with the University.” So any activities that in your estimation reasonably support your “professional competence and effectiveness” as that is described under the articles can fit within the definition of professional development.

Scheduling vacation time. Faculty who work in different areas will schedule their vacation time in different ways. For faculty who work in areas such as the libraries and counselling, this time will be scheduled in consultation with the administrator responsible and according to guidelines that are to be established in order to ensure continuous coverage. Under 12.12(b), “Employee preferences for vacation schedules will be taken into consideration in those guidelines.” For faculty who work in the semestered teaching areas, vacation normally is taken during the non-teaching semester. If a faculty member “voluntarily elects” to teach over three semesters, then according to 12.12(e) “vacation days will be scheduled intermittently throughout the academic year, taking operational requirements into account.” For faculty who teach in non-semestered teaching areas, vacation will normally be taken during scheduled non-teaching time.

Scheduling PD time. Professional development is included in the description of accountable time activities under 12.01(a), and faculty members are expected to submit an outline of planned PD activities to the appropriate administrator at least a month in advance, and the activities have to be approved, under 12.01(e) and (f).

Scheduling accountable time. Similarly to how PD time is scheduled, accountable time also sometimes needs to be planned and approved in advance, and this is described in 12.01(b). For accountable time activities that will last longer than four consecutive days and that cover duties other than teaching or PD, faculty members are expected to  submit an activity plan for approval.

Carryovers of vacation or PD time. Sometimes, there could be a situation in which a faculty member would be requested to carry over part of her or his vacation and/or PD entitlements. Please note that in either case, carryovers are based on the needs of the Employer. Note also that faculty members are not obligated to agree to such a carryover. In the case of PD time, the Collective Agreement says in 12.01(h) that “[i]f the needs of the Employer demand and if the Employer in writing requests him/her to do so, a faculty member may carry over a portion of his/her annual professional development time up to a maximum of ten (10) working days for use in the following year, at a time to be agreed upon by the faculty member and the administrator responsible. Such carryover of professional development time shall occur only with the agreement of the faculty member.” In the case of vacation time, the Collective Agreement says in 12.12(c) that “[i]f the needs of the Employer demand and if the Employer in writing requests him/her to do so, a faculty member may carry over a portion of his/her annual vacation up to a maximum of twenty (20) working days for use in the following year, either separately or continuously with his/her regular annual vacation, as may be agreed between the faculty member and the administrator responsible. Such carryover of vacation shall occur only with the agreement of the faculty member.” 

Reporting. Vacation time is not accountable time, so there is of course no need to report. PD time and other accountable time, on the other hand, require reporting. For PD time, there is a responsibility to confirm that the approved activities were undertaken. According to 12.01(g), “[o]n an annual basis, faculty members will confirm completion of approved professional development activities.” For other accountable time, according to 12.01(b), “[o]n an annual basis, the faculty member will submit to the appropriate administrator a written report of their accountable time activities.” 

For more details, please take a look at Collective Agreement articles 12.01(a), 12.01 (b), 12.01(e, 12.01(f), 12.01(g), 12.01(h), 12.12(a), 12.12(b), 12.12(c), 12.12(e), 12.16 and 12.19.

Questions? Comments? Please contact us and we’ll be happy to chat with you.

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