Salary and Compensation

Worker’s Compensation (WCB) – what you need to know regarding unpaid appointments

The Workers Compensation Act requires successful claimants to be workers; WorkSafe’s policy guide is clear that “workers” are paid and therefore volunteers or any unpaid appointee are not covered.

Often individuals holding appointments are funded by external grants and receive no University funding. If the grant pay is administered by the University as fellowship earnings, despite not being provided by the University, the grant recipient will be deemed a University employee and be able to make a WorkSafe claim through the University due to UBC paying WCB premiums on their behalf.

Where the University is not paymaster and the external grant funding is administered directly to the recipient, there are, for our purposes, no earnings and therefore UBC pays no WCB premiums on this grant funding. In the case of Postdoctoral Fellows we record these funds as “Non-University Funded” (NUF) on HRMS and UBC does not pay WCB premiums. All other unpaid appointees at the University who receive no earnings from us whatsoever are also not covered under WCB and therefore are unable to access WorkSafe coverage.  This means that if an individual is injured in the course of performing their unpaid (i.e. unpaid by the University) duties, they will have to take their claims to MSP, which will only cover medical expenses. MSP does not act as a wage replacement scheme like WorkSafe does.

Consequently, administrators or supervisors should advise any appointees with unpaid appointments, including postdoctoral fellows with NUF earnings to clarify whether they have access to another wage replacement scheme in case of injury. If their grant funding is from an external granting agency in another province or country, the recipient may have the option of making a claim in their home jurisdiction.

In the case of paid UBC employees working out of province they will be eligible to make WorkSafe claims for injuries incurred, but only for the first six months of their extra-provincial employment.

Should you have any further questions regarding WorkSafe coverage for those working within your department, please not hesitate to contact Workplace Health Services at wsbc.info@ubc.ca or by phone at 604-822-8759.

T2200 Tax Form – Should You Certify?

Recently we’ve had a number of inquiries regarding whether or not the University will sign off on T2200s to deduct rent costs from personal employment income when faculty use their home as an office space. The T2200, also known as the “Declaration of Conditions of Employment”, allows the employee to make claims that certain expenses were necessarily incurred to fulfill their employment duties and deduct those expenses from their income; however, the employer must certify the claims for deductions as being related to actual conditions of employment, and finally the Canada Revenue Agency makes a determination on whether or not to approve the claim. Section 8 of the Income Tax Act details permissible deductions from personal income, and Subsection 8(13) outlines where such deductions can be made for the use of a home office. This will only apply when an employee is genuinely required, as a condition of their employment, to incur personal office expenses (so, for example, faculty on sabbatical will not be eligible). Where the maintenance of an office is required to fulfill employment duties, the Act stipulates that home office expenses will only be deductible where that office is the place where the individual principally (i.e. more than 50% of the time) performs their employment duties.

Our general practice is to avoid issuing T2200s by directly reimbursing the employee for any expenses necessarily incurred as a condition of fulfilling their employment duties. Of course, there may be cases in which this is not done and in those exceptional cases, our practice should be guided by the law as set out above.

Faculty Increases and Bargaining Update

The Progress Through the Ranks (PTR) increases have been processed effective July 1, 2019. This means those who are in receipt of a PTR award will see their salary increase on their July 15th paycheque. On the bargaining front the University and the UBC Faculty Association met throughout the spring and bargaining is set to resume in late September.

Minimum Wage Increase

While most employees at UBC are unaffected by minimum wages, certain groups may be affected by the increase of over $1. In particular, our Postdoctoral Fellows need to be considered. The minimum wage in British Columbia increased from $12.65 to $13.85 on June 1, 2019. If workers are under salary, it is important to make sure that the equivalent hourly wage is adjusted to would meet or exceed the new minimum.

Further increases are scheduled annually for June 1 of 2020 and 2021, so it’s a good idea to continue planning ahead for such changes. More details about minimum wage requirements can be found within the ESA Interpretation Manual.

Sick Leave, Income Replacement Coverage and Return To Work

The following information is provided to help clarify the steps and processes involved when a faculty member goes on sick leave, Income Replacement (IRP) leave or enters into a Return to Work (RTW) arrangement.

1. Sick Leave Process

Faculty members are eligible for up to 6 months paid sick leave.  If a faculty member goes on sick leave that will be longer than a week they should provide notification to their Department Head in writing, including a doctor’s certification of the illness, the start date of the leave, a prognosis of the expected return date and any accommodation that may be required if requesting a partial medical leave. The Department Head of the faculty member may seek assistance from the Return to Work/Remain at Work Program, UBC Vancouver.

On the Okanagan campus, if a faculty member is off work greater than 5 days or has an upcoming medical leave, the Department Head will contact the Work Reintegration & Accommodation Program (WRAP). All medical information and case management will be led by WRAP and they will provide the Department Head with updates regarding need for accommodation, return to work planning, IRP etc.

At both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan it is the responsibility of the Department to prepare the necessary leave of absence form and forward to Faculty Relations (UBC Vancouver) or Human Resources (UBC Okanagan), along with the relevant documentation so that HRMS can be updated accordingly.

If a faculty member is unable to return to work they must keep the Department updated.  At UBC Okanagan the faculty member must remain in regular contact with WRAP.  If it is anticipated that coverage under the Sunlife Income Replacement Plan (IRP) will be required, the member should apply at the end of the 3rd month of sick leave.  Members should contact the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate at 604-822-8696 or email disabilityclaims.info@ubc.ca to learn how to apply for benefits and to obtain the application forms.  A delay in applying may result in the member being without pay for a period of time.

If member runs out of paid sick leave and Sunlife has not yet approved IRP or has denied the IRP application, the faculty member will be placed on an unpaid sick leave.  It is the responsibility of the Department to create the necessary leave form and forward to Faculty Relations/Human Resources along with the relevant supporting documents.

Departments need to monitor the leave and keep Faculty Relations/Human Resources apprised of any changes.

2. Income Replacement Plan (IRP) Benefit Process – full coverage by Sunlife

Upon approval of an IRP claim, Sunlife informs the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate IRP Claims Clerk in Human Resources, who then informs the Department and instructs them to produce a Leave of Absence form which they forward to Faculty Relations/Human Resources along with supporting documents.  FR/HR will arrange for HRMS to be updated.

For a tenure-track or term appointee on IRP, the Department needs to track the appointment and ensure that a reappointment, as necessary is processed on HRMS.  For example, if a tenure track faculty member is approved for IRP after completing the first 3 years of their appointment and does not return to work by the end of the 4th year, then the department needs to create a Faculty Appointment form to process a one-year extension. They will need to do this annually until either the individual returns to work or we receive medical information that there is no likelihood that the individual will ever return to work.

It is important to track the appointment and ensure it continues to appear on HRMS with a leave status. The key reason for this is that medical, extended and dental benefits continue based on the leave appointment.  If the appointment ends then health benefit coverage ends. If we are informed with medical evidence that there is no likelihood that the individual will ever return to work, UBC will provide the individual with a limited period of benefits continuance so that they can make alternate arrangements for alternate health benefits coverage.  Faculty Relations/Human Resources will work with units in such situations.

3. Income Replacement Plan (IRP) Benefit Process – partial coverage by Sunlife

As with the full IRP leave the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate IRP Claims Clerk in Human Resources will inform the Department and instruct them to produce a Leave of Absence form which is forwarded to Faculty Relations/Human Resources who will arrange for HRMS to be updated.  If the individual is transitioning from Full to Partial IRP the department will need to complete a Faculty Appointment Form so that a secondary Employment Record can be created on HRMS. The percentage of leave and work should be clearly outlined on the appointment form and accompanying documentation.

HRMS will be updated to reflect the partial leave and partial work situation and the individual will continue to receive partial pay from UBC.

Any changes in percentage will be communicated by the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate IRP Claims Clerk to the Department, who will create the necessary appointment form to process the change.

4. Return to Work Process

Once a member on IRP has been deemed medically fit to return to work Sunlife will contact the Return to Work (RTW) Advisor who will coordinate with the faculty member, Department, Faculty Relations/HR as well as the member’s doctor or healthcare providers to set up a Return to Work schedule.  If Departments are aware of a possible return to work in advance of Sunlife’s confirmation they should contact the RTW Advisor to discuss. Once a RTW schedule has been confirmed it is the Department’s responsibility to produce the necessary appointment form and forward to Faculty Relations/HR with supporting documentation. If there are any changes in work level these will be communicated to the Department who will complete further paperwork for Faculty Relations/HR.

On the Okanagan campus, WRAP will continue case management leading up to and during a faculty members IRP leave. Return to work will be coordinated by WRAP with the involvement of the Head and in some cases Human Resources. Once a RTW schedule has been confirmed it is the Department’s responsibility to produce the necessary appointment form and forward to Human Resources.

5. Accommodation

If an accommodation for an active faculty member is required the Department should contact the appropriate Senior Manager and/or RTW Advisor (UBC Vancouver) or WRAP (UBC Okanagan)..

For more detailed information refer to the Human Resources website as follows:

Research Associate Salary Increase and Offer Letters

Research Associates at UBC will receive a 1.0% General Wage Increase and a 0.75% Economic Stability Dividend on May 1, 2019. This is as in accordance with the mandate of the Provincial Government through the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC). As a result of this increase the minimum salary for Research Associates increases to $56,732 effective May 1, 2019. All newly appointed Research Associates must meet this new minimum.

Compensation for Research Associates may only change as per mandated increases or if the offer or reappointment letter contains language that specifically allows for a salary increase upon reappointment. A reminder that the Research Associate offer letter templates is found on the Faculty Relations website and contains suggested language.

2019 Faculty Salary Increases for Bargaining Unit Members

A reminder that the Progress through the Ranks (PTR) increases (Career Progress, Merit, and PSA) will be processed in time for the July 15th paycheque. This means that administrators will need to check Career Progress (CP) and Length of Service (LOS) CP for their members.  Additionally units should be making preparations for the annual review process for merit & PSA, as decisions for merit & PSA will need to be finalized by approximately May 20th.  Bargaining is underway and we do not have any information regarding General Wage Increase (GWI) at this time.  An overview of the increase timeline is found on the Faculty Relations website.

Changes to the Minimum Wage

On June 1st 2018, BC’s minimum wage increased from $11.35 per hour to $12.65 per hour. We would like to remind you of this change and to emphasize that it may be a relevant consideration for Postdoctoral Fellow appointments. Administrators should check their Postdoctoral Fellow appointments to ensure that they are in compliance with the new minimum wage.

Annual 1% Lump Sum Payments for Regular Faculty Members

The 1% lump sum payment payable under Article 6 of Part 2 of the Agreement  has been processed on the June 30th paycheque. This payment is for regular members of the bargaining unit and is based on the annualized salary as of June 30th.  The payment will appear on the members paycheques under the code FAC LS.  Administrators will see this in their ledgers under the code LFC. The 1% lump sum for eligible Sessional Lecturers will be processed in September.

Salary Increases for Bargaining Unit Members

Salary increases effective July 1, 2018 for Continuing Members of the bargaining unit have been processed and will appear on the July 15th paycheque.  Increase components are comprised of a 1.5% General Wage increase, o.5% Mutual Beneficial Gains increase, Career Progress Increment, Merit and Performance Salary Adjustment.  Faculty Salary Increase Notices detailing the increase components and updated salary  will be mailed to faculty members in the week of July 9th.