Staffing During a Transit Strike

Skytrain operators in Metro Vancouver have begun strike action. During this time, the university is operating as normal. Classes are proceeding and faculty and staff are expected to attend work. However, recognizing that an escalation in strike action may impact UBC’s employees’ ability to get to work, Human Resources has some recommendations for managers to start conversations with employees.

You can find updates on the transit strike, including the university’s FAQs, at https://www.ubc.ca/campus-notifications/.

All employees are expected to attend at work, and may be obliged to find alternate forms of transportation to their work site.  Employees may approach you with requests to telecommute or for other arrangements. Depending on the length of the strike, such requests may be a one-time request or an ongoing arrangement until the strike is over.

Planning for staffing in the event of disrupted access to campus

Managers are asked to plan in advance with their employees around accessing the campus for work. HR has some recommended considerations to help with your planning:

  1. Ask your employees to consider their commuting plans if there is a disruption in getting to work.
  2. Ask your employees to communicate with you regarding any anticipated or actual issues at their earliest opportunity.
  3. Set up a procedure for how employees should contact you in the event they are having difficulty getting to work or will be late.
  4. Be curious about an employee’s situation, asking questions to fully understand, and come up with a solution together.
  5. Ensure that you are being consistent with your employees in terms of making alternative arrangements, and that any decisions you make regarding such arrangements are reasonable given the employee’s role and your unit’s operational needs.
  6. If an employee is late for work on one or two occasions, it is appropriate to allow them to make up the time, use vacation time, or unpaid time off to address any shortfall in hours. It is also a good idea to support them in coming up with ways to attend work as scheduled.
  7. If an employee is requesting a longer-term solution (such as for the duration of the strike), it is appropriate to consider your operational needs when considering the employee’s request.

All of these solutions should be based on the continued operational needs of your unit.

Potential options for employees

  1. Taking vacation time or time off in lieu can be used for short-term or a longer-term solution.
  2. Making up the hours another day or taking time off without pay (mostly for short-term difficulties). Flexible time working arrangements may also be appropriate as long as they meet operational requirements.
  3. There are guidelines for telecommuting located at http://www.hr.ubc.ca/faculty-staff-resources/telecommuting/. Any telecommuting arrangements should align with the guidelines set out on the HR website. Of course, not all roles at the University can be performed remotely. If you have employees who are not part of the management and professional employee group who wish to telecommute, please contact your HR Advisor before granting this option.
  4. You may wish to assist your employees in making carpooling arrangements by creating a sign-up sheet by geographical location.
  5. Using an alternate UBC work location.
  6. It is anticipated that many employees will bring their vehicles to work. As there is limited parking available at the Point Grey campus, employees are encouraged to carpool wherever possible.

If managers have questions regarding specific situations in their units, please contact your HR Advisor.