COVID-19: Faculty of Education Updates: Human Resources

August 28, 2020 | 12:15 pm

Healthy Workplace Practices

Our thoughts on healthy practices often focus around eating well, sleeping well and so on. I also encourage us to think about our virtual workplace and whether we can develop some shared understandings of workplace health. The document, Healthy Workplace Practices, highlights some directions that we’ve been discussing within the Office of the Dean: making your calendar work for you, ensuring meetings are productive, and using Zoom judiciously. I encourage you to discuss the Healthy Workplace Practices document within your unit, and develop some practices that fit within your unit’s culture.

Friday, May 22, 2020 | 3:10 pm

Part of moving forward includes an operational safety plan to gradually return to campus in ways that maintain our health and safety. As has already been mentioned, this plan is currently in development and is predicated on advice from Central UBC administration, informed by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training and the Provincial Health Officer, with input from the UBC Joint Occupational and Health & Safety Committee and WorkSafe BC. This process is going to take some time and will involve close consultation with Heads, Directors and unit leads as well as administrative managers.

WorkSafe BC Tips for Working Safely

The linked page is one of the resources we are looking at as we develop a Faculty plan for a safe return to campus. Read here.

May 1, 2020 | 3:00 pm


Various UBC units are offering webinars. Here are a few examples:

April 15, 2020 | 4:50 pm

Vacation requests

Employees who are working from home may still take vacation, the purpose of which is to provide a break from work and the opportunity to rejuvenate. Particularly where faculty and staff are struggling to balance childcare and work obligations, vacation time should be a consideration.

  • If operationally feasible, supervisors should consider allowing employees to cancel pre-scheduled vacation requests. However, when dealing with these requests, supervisors should also consider the ability to manage significant vacation requests when normal operations resume.
  • While vacation payouts are not permissible, the maximum vacation carry-over limits for those employee groups who have carry-over is normally limited to 10 days. This limit will be increased to up to 15 days, with management approval and for the year 2020 only, to provide flexibility in managing vacation.
  • Supervisors are encouraged to develop vacation plans for the balance of the year to determine operational feasibility of scheduling alternative vacation dates.

This information was sent on behalf of Marcia Buchholz, Interim Vice-President, Human Resources. More details about these and other HR items:

Please contact your dept/unit/school Administrative Manager if you require further clarification.

UBC Workplace Learning

UBC has just launched a new hub for workplace learning, with freely available learning resources for all UBC employees at all campuses.

Working from Home Ergonomics

Here are some pointers for setting up work from home in ways to support working efficiently, comfortably and safely:

April 9, 2020 | 5:31 pm

Faculty of Education Staff Townhall

I invite all Faculty of Education staff to join me for a Zoom Town Hall, chaired by Ms. Anna Bin, Director of HR & Operations. This Town Hall will focus on bringing updates to staff members regarding communications, facilities, finances and technology-related matters during this unusual time. Please see the details below for more information:

  • Event: Faculty of Education Staff Town Hall
  • Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
  • Date: Thursday April 16th, 2020

We ask that staff take a few moments to complete an anonymous questionnaire, the purpose of which is to help us gain an overview of current staff needs, concerns, and challenges. Please complete the survey, linked below, by Tuesday, April 14th at 10:30 am.

April 3, 2020 | 11:25 am

COVID-19 – Faculty and Staff Recruitment Processes

In addition to introducing Remote Work Arrangements, the university is adjusting its recruitment processes as part of our COVID-19 response. Below is the updated approach for various phases of the recruitment lifecycle.

Job searches and recruitment (pre-offer of employment)

Given the current circumstances, departments should carefully consider whether to begin job searches or post new positions. Approval from the Administrative Head of Unit must be obtained for all new searches or new job postings.

If the recruitment process is already underway but an offer of employment has not been made, departments must consider whether the position is still required, and if so, how it can be performed remotely.

If the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on a new position is clear, cancelling a job posting or recruitment process (temporarily or indefinitely) is the most appropriate response. In other situations, departments may need to delay or temporarily suspend recruitment processes that are underway. Regardless of the approach, current applicants should be advised of the status of their applications, and the process…   read more

Recruitment – when an offer has been made

If departments have made an offer, but it has not been accepted, the offer should be revoked if there is certainty that the position will be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Please contact your HR Advisor/Manager or Senior Faculty Relations Manager for guidance on how to address this situation.

In some limited cases, departments may revoke an offer of employment and re-issue a conditional offer of employment. In these cases, please contact your HR Advisor/Manager or Senior Faculty Relations Manager to assist with appropriate language.

In the case of an accepted offer, departments must consider whether the position is still needed, how the position can be done remotely and whether there are travel restrictions that impact the role. Departments must also determine how to onboard candidates remotely, including candidates who are not able to travel to British Columbia in light of current travel restrictions.

The ability for departments to revoke an offer or delay a starting date requires careful consideration and will depend on the employee group, offer letter, and other circumstances. Please contact your HR Advisor/Manager or Senior Faculty Relations Manager for guidance on how to address these situations.

New offers of employment

New offers of employment should only be considered in very limited situations. If contemplating a new offer of employment, departments must ensure that the position would likely not be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Making a conditional offer of employment is strongly recommended. Please contact your HR Advisor/Manager or Senior Faculty Relations Manager to assist with appropriate language.

Given the evolving nature of the situation, we will inform you if there are further changes to recruitment processes. Thank you for your support as we implement these revised approaches to recruitment.

Marcia Buchholz
Interim Vice-President, Human Resources

April 3, 2020 | 10:20 am

Frequently Asked Questions: Work Learn Winter 2019

If you are currently supervising Work/Learn students please review the following FAQs that have been developed to assist you in navigating your Work Learn appointment during COVID-19 disruptions.

Will Work Learn students continue to be paid?
Yes. The Public Sector Employers’ Council Secretariat has provided direction to the University to maintain compensation and employment continuity for employees in the immediate term of March and April, for employees whose work would not have otherwise been interrupted except for the pandemic response. This direction is outlined has been outlined in a memo: COVID-19 impact on UBC faculty and staff.

Are Work Learn students eligible to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic response?
Yes. UBC has released guidance to support remote work, where feasible, for all employees, including students. Work Learn will honour Winter 2019 funding commitments. We encourage supervisors to explore options for student employees to work remotely. In some cases, you may consider whether modified projects or alternate duties are possible, in keeping with the position classification. Your Human Resources Advisor can provide advice. Detailed information about UBC’s remote work pilot is online to help, including a Telecommuting Checklist.

What IT considerations must be made in determining whether remote work is feasible?
UBC IT has provided an online guide to working remotely. The guide outlines resources when working remotely, including: how to access emails and files, tools for virtual meetings, and security requirements. When considering the use of personal devices, it is important to ensure that security and privacy requirements are met…   read more

The duties associated with our Work Learn position are not feasible for remote work. What should I do?
Where it is not possible for Work Learn students to work remotely, or be redeployed, through the Public Sector Employers’ Council Secretariat (PSEC), UBC has received direction that public sector employers are obligated to maintain employment and compensation continuity, until April 30, 2020. This means that Work Learn student employees should continue to receive compensation until the end of their current Winter 19 Work Learn appointment.

How can I ensure that I maintain a high-quality workplace experience for my Work Learn employee?
We appreciate your efforts to maintain positive workplace learning experiences for students, and encourage you to reference the Work Learn Resources for Supervisors during these challenging times. We have provided additional guidance on good practices for supervising employees remotely.

The weekly schedule for my Work Learn student employee varies (e.g. some weeks they work 8 hours/week, some weeks they work 10 hours/week). How many hours should I log on the timesheet to meet pay continuity requirements?
Work Learn student employees should continue to receive their usual compensation. The specific number of hours of pay received by hourly student employees during this period will need to be determined by the unit head or designate. Work Learn is recommending one of the following approaches.

  • Anticipated schedule: Submit timesheets according to previously established schedule. For example, if the planned schedule for the Work Learn student was 8 hours/week in March and 10 hours/week in April, submit timesheets as per the planned schedule, until the end of the appointment period.
  • Average hours worked: Determine the average number of hours/week the Work Learn student has worked to date. Submit this average as the actual hours worked, from now through to April 30, 2020. For example, if the Work Learn student has worked an average of 9 hours/week, submit 9 hours/week on timesheets until the end of the appointment period. UBC Payroll can assist in determining average hours, if needed.

What are the processes for submitting timesheets, during this period of remote work?
UBC Payroll has implemented a temporary set of guidelines to support the digital submission of hourly payroll. Please contact your HR Advisor or your Payroll Representative if you have questions about how this will be administered for your department.

Our Work Learn student is working remotely, however, they are working fewer hours than they would typically have worked. How should I accomplish wage continuity?
To meet our responsibilities as a public sector employer, UBC will compensate Work Learn students for their expected wage, where the work would not have otherwise been interrupted, except for the pandemic response. In this case, students should continue to perform those duties which can be performed remotely, and they should be paid at their usual compensation level, following either the anticipated schedule or average hours worked approach outlined above.

How should I record wage continuity on my timesheets? What records should I keep as a supervisor?
It is recommended that Work Learn supervisors/administrators keep records to indicate the number of actual hours worked, hours paid to meet UBC’s requirements for wage continuity, or the appropriate combination of the two.

What if my Work Learn appointment ends prior to April 30, 2020?
If, as part of normal operations, your Work Learn position had a planned end date prior to April 30, 2020, you are expected to provide pay continuity until the planned end date only. End dates should not be extended unless operationally required.

What if my student employee is scheduled to work beyond April 30, 2020?
In general, W19 Work Learn appointments have a default end date of April 30, 2020. The current PSEC pay continuity direction is for March and April only, and will be reassessed by the provincial government before the end of April. We will provide updates as soon as they become available.

If you have additional questions, please email or phone 604-822-4011, from 9 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday or access our virtual office hours listed on our website.

April 2, 2020 | 4:45 pm

Faculty of Education Administrative Directory

The new Faculty of Education administrative directory (updated as of April 1st) is now available. Any corrections and updates for the next quarter should be sent to

March 30, 2020 | 4:15 pm

UBC Human Resources Information for Managers and Supervisors

UBC Human Resources has provided some FAQs for manager and supervisors on a variety of topics, which may be found here: These will be updated in the days ahead.

March 26, 2020 | 8:31 am

Responding to COVID-19: Sick Leave Provisions

The university has established a temporary approach to providing paid sick leave for the following employees who are self-isolating with COVID-like symptoms:

  1. Those who do not have access to sick leave as part of their employment.
  2. Those who have access to sick leave as part of their employment and have used up all of their sick leave.

The university has established a temporary provision of paid sick leave for up to 10 consecutive days within the 14-day self-isolation period. The temporary provision applies to sick leave taken up to April 30, 2020 and this approach will be reassessed at the end of April.

For employees who have sick leave provisions as part of their employment and have used up all of their sick leave, any sick leave taken will be deducted from their future sick leave accruals.

The process for administering this approach may be found at

Managers and Supervisors can also find up-to-date information at

If you have any questions, please contact your HR Advisor:

March 24, 2020 | 4:47 pm

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Public Sector Employers’ Council Secretariat provided information and direction to UBC, regarding compensation and employment continuity for public sector workers in response to the COVID-19 emergency situation.

For the immediate term of March and April, all public sector employers will maintain compensation and employment continuity for employees. It is important to maintain employment continuity for employees whose work would not have otherwise been interrupted except for the pandemic response.

Unless previously planned as part of normal operations, or unless it is clear that the situation cannot be mitigated, employee layoffs are to be avoided during this period. This direction will be reassessed by the provincial government before the end of April and updates will be provided as they become available.

These are challenging circumstances across the public sector and UBC supports government’s position to protect our valued students, faculty and staff. We understand that you will have questions about how UBC will be implementing this direction. We are currently exploring how best to approach this, including discussion with our unions. We will provide further updates as soon as we are able.

Finally, we would like to offer our thanks once again for your leadership and commitment during these challenging times.

Marcia Buchholz, MBA, CPHR, CHRE
Interim Vice President, Human Resources

March 12, 2020 | 6:30 pm

HR Decision-making: Faculty and Staff
We will do everything possible to ensure that the health and wellbeing of our faculty and staff are secured. As such, we are developing a plan to mitigate risks.

  • Faculty or staff shall not be penalized for making the reasonable decision to self-isolate, whether because of probable exposure and/or because of a compromised immune system;
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to communicate by email to their unit heads (department heads, school directors, associate deans, and assistant deans) regarding concerns about exposure to COVID-19 or other elevated risk factors. Please include as much relevant information as possible (exposure, testing, immune-compromised, etc.);
  • The self-isolation advice provided by the BC CDC provides evidence-informed directives concerning testing, calling 811 and other matters can be found here;
  • Unit heads will not disclose COVID-19-related information except, as required, in cases of a local positive test;
  • Faculty or staff who make a reasonable decision to self-isolate for the recommended period of time, up to 14 days, will be not be required to use existing sick or vacation days. Documentation will not typically be required for this period of self-isolation; and
  • Where possible, unit heads can determine the feasibility of flexible work arrangements (e.g., telecommuting) when there is no actual known illness and self-isolation is used as a risk mitigation strategy.