Memo: Staff Honoraria Payment Requests (Jan. 17, 2011)

Date: Jan 17, 2011
To: Deans, Directors, Department Heads and Administrators
From: Maynard Witvoet, Employee Relations Manager, Department of Human Resources
Re: Staff Honoraria Payment Requests

This memo serves as a reminder that unionized staff are not entitled to receive any honoraria payment. As advised in past memos, an honorarium is a payment made to a faculty or non-unionized staff member (M&P Staff, Non-Union Technicians & Research Assistants, Executive Administrative Staff, and Farm Workers) for work that is above and beyond what is typically covered by their regular salary, to express gratitude, or to confer distinction on the recipient. (Separate guidelines exist governing the payment of honoraria to faculty members.)

We raise this distinction of eligibility between non-union and union staff because the Payroll department advises they have been receiving requests to process honoraria payments for unionized staff, particularly for staff covered by the CUPE 2950 and CUPE 116 Collective Agreements. In some cases these requests are coded as “overtime,” in other cases they appear to be payment requests over and above the employee’s regular wage rate.

While the desired outcome of such honoraria may be to recognize unionized staff, we are not in a position to do so as honoraria payments are not a negotiated term or provision in any of the collective agreements. Therefore such payments for unionized staff represents a violation of the applicable collective agreement. For this reason, please be advised that effective immediately, Payroll will not process any honoraria requests for unionized staff members. Where unionized staff have legitimately worked approved overtime hours, they are to be properly paid the applicable overtime rate as provided for in the applicable collective agreement. We encourage you to recognize unionized staff with non-monetary measures.

We ask that you review your current practices within your faculty, department or unit to ensure it is consistent and in compliance with the applicable collective agreements, and to ensure honoraria payment requests for unionized staff are not forwarded to payroll for processing.

If you have any questions, or require assistance to address a current honoraria arrangement, please contact your Human Resources Advisor.

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