Memo: Paid leave for staff between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day

On Nov. 21, HR distributed information regarding eligibility for paid leave for staff on the three business days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

This leave is addressed in the collective agreements with BCGEU Okanagan, CUPE 2950, CUPE 116 and IUOE 115, and the agreement with AAPS. Although there are no official provisions in place for non-union staff, excluded Management & Professional staff, and service unit directors, Human Resources has recommendations regarding paid leave between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day for these staff groups.

Read the memo at

Inclusive holiday celebrations in the workplace

This winter at UBC, our community is celebrating events and holidays from around the world. Our students, staff and faculty come from many cultural backgrounds and faith identities, and at this time of year, we have an opportunity to celebrate the cultures that make up our UBC community.

Some celebratory events are coming up in the next few weeks, including Yule (Paganism), Hanukkah (Judaism), and Christmas (Christianity). In February, we will see festivities for the Lunar New Year (Confucian, Daoism, Buddhism). See the Days of Significance list to see all the events and celebrations coming up soon.

Ways to celebrate in the workplace

We have a great opportunity to celebrate the season together, in a respectful and positive way that can help build intercultural understanding.

  • Display a calendar in your workplace to raise awareness of important cultural/faith events and holidays throughout the entire year.
  • Celebrate all faiths present in your workplace.
  • Consider having a New Year’s celebration party instead of a holiday party in December.
  • Be flexible with the needs of staff around faith and/or holiday celebrations.
  • In your workplace or at celebration events, bring together decorations and food from the many cultures in your workplace, and encourage staff to share stories about their favourite traditions.
  • Be aware and respectful of religious holidays when planning events and meetings. Check the Days of Significance calendar for details.

Office decorations

Here are some tips to make your office decorations inclusive and respectful of all cultures and beliefs:

  • Aim for neutral decor in the front-facing areas of your office
  • Ensure your office is accessible and that decorations do not prevent or block access to public services.
  • Consider how your office can celebrate dates significant to all members of your workplace. Invite staff from all faith identities to be involved in the office decorating discussion.
  • Set an agreed upon limit to the number of days that your office will display decorations, and have a discussion about what other times of year you might want to decorate, in celebration of other events.
  • Use the holidays as an opportunity to build community within your office, and with the people your office serves or supports.

If you are feeling excluded as a result of office celebrations, you are encouraged to reach out to a colleague or a supervisor and have a conversation about how you feel and how you would like your culture and beliefs to be included. At UBC we should all feel comfortable to share our culture and beliefs with others. You are welcome to contact the Equity and Inclusion Office or your HR Advisor to discuss.

We hope that this advice provides some suggestions on how to foster community and inclusion at this time of year through encouraging the celebration of our many cultures and faiths on campus.

Relevant links

Reminder: Information regarding transit operators’ strike action

As you may know, Coast Mountain Bus Company transit workers and SeaBus operators have begun strike action.

Although strike action has been confirmed, the university is operating as normal. Classes are proceeding and faculty and staff are expected to attend work.

Please bookmark for the latest messaging from UBC regarding this strike action, and for operational FAQs.

If you have any questions regarding HR matters, please reach out to your HR Advisor.

Information regarding possible transit operators’ job action

As you may know, the union representing Coast Mountain Bus Company transit workers and SeaBus operators has issued a 72-hour strike notice, which may result in action starting 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 1.

At this stage, we do not know whether job action will go ahead or what form it will take.

It is important to stress that even if job action does go ahead, the university will operate as normal. Classes will proceed and faculty and staff will be expected to attend work.

Please bookmark for the latest messaging from UBC regarding this possible transit operators’ job action.

If you have any questions regarding HR matters, please reach out to your HR Advisor.

Interim Vice-President, Human Resources: Marcia Buchholz

Marcia Buchholz has been appointed as the Interim Vice-President, Human Resources, effective Dec. 1, 2019.

Marcia joined UBC in August as Managing Director, Human Resources Advisory Partnerships, Central Operational Services, and HR Professional Standards. Prior to joining UBC, she was Associate Vice-President, Human Resources at the University of Calgary.

The current Vice-President, Human Resources, Barbara Meens Thistle, will continue until the end of December, 2019, to ensure a smooth transition for Marcia to this interim role.

The search for a new Vice-President, Human Resources, continues.

Daylight Saving Time ends Nov. 3

Daylight Saving Time ends on Nov. 3, 2019. Clocks fall back one hour at 2:00 a.m. Sunday. Please encourage your staff to have a safe commute on Monday, Nov. 4.

Reminder: 2019 federal election: HR memo regarding faculty and staff voting on election day

As a reminder, the federal election day is Monday, Oct. 21. The HR memo regarding providing time for faculty and staff to vote is at:

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact your HR Advisor.

2019 federal election: HR memo regarding faculty and staff voting on election day

We have issued a memo regarding providing time for faculty and staff to vote on the upcoming federal election day, Oct. 21, 2019.

Read the memo online at

See all HR memos at

Voting in the 2019 federal election

UBC Government Relations has complied a page of voting resources for the UBC community, available at

Accommodation of religious observances

Human Resources has information available on our website on the accommodation of religious observances in the workplace. Please visit to read more.

Background: On Sept. 24, 2019, the Board of Governors approved the repeal of Policy #65 (Religious Holidays). Former Policy #65 overlapped with Policy SC7 (Discrimination) (formerly numbered Policy #3) which sets out UBC’s commitment to maintain and respect human rights and prevent discrimination on all of the grounds prohibited by the Human Rights Code, including religion, and is also addressed in collective agreements, through the Senate Policy on Academic Concessions in both the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan Academic Calendars, and information available on the website of the Equity & Inclusion Office. The repeal of Policy #65 removes the redundancy and furthers UBC’s goal of enhancing the consistency and cogency of the university’s governance. The information package that was provided to the Board of Governors is available here.

Save the date: Workplace Experiences Survey Pulse Nov. 12-25

Save the date: Workplace Experiences Survey Pulse Nov. 12-25

We are offering a Workplace Experiences Survey (WES) Pulse university-wide this November. The survey window is Nov. 12-25, 2019

The pulse is a shorter version of the full WES – it should take less than 5 minutes to complete. The survey is intended to offer insights into areas that were identified as the top drivers of engagement in the 2017 WES, and that align with the priorities woven into Focus on People 2025: inclusion, leadership, professional growth, and wellbeing.

The overall 2019 WES pulse results will inform many of the Focus on People 2025 metrics reported to the UBC community in the annual FOP 2025 update, which provides progress on making UBC an inspiring place to work.

More information at