FAQ - Postdocs (English)

 
 

1. I wish to attend a conference / convention / training session. What are my rights?
2. How to calculate my weekly work hours and overtime?
3. How does the collective insurance work?
4. What expenses are reimbursed by the medical insurance?
5. Is there a dental plan?
6. What is the Health management account (Compte de gestion santé)?
7. How can I benefit from maternity / paternity / parental leave?
8. Do I qualify for RQAP and how to I sign up for it?
9. I’m feeling ill. Can I take some time off?
10. What is the RCRUL and should I joint it?
11. When will I receive my first paycheque?
12. Will I get a raise?
13. Will I be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) at the end of my fellowship?
14. Am I entitled to vacation (annual) leave?
15. What is a Statutory Holiday?
16. What to do if my rights are not respected?
17. How much does the union cost?
18. What does STEP do with the money from the union dues?
19. I want to volunteer. What can I do to help?


1. I wish to attend a conference / convention / training session. What are my rights?
The collective agreement says, at chapter 14, that when you are authorised by your superior to participate in a “training activity” (course, conference, convention, etc.), there is no reduction of your salary. When the activity is at the request of your superior, all associated expenses (registration, transport, hotel, etc.) must be refunded to you.

2. How to calculate my weekly work hours and overtime?
Chapter 15 of the collective agreement says that work hours are calculated by looking at the average over 4 weeks, for 35 hours per week (or 140 hours per 4-week period.
In order to simplify use, we have prepared a computation tool that automatically calculates the average over 4 weeks and that tracks your overtime balance from week to week. For more information, click here.

3. How does the collective insurance work?
All the details about the collective insurance are available here.
In order to qualify for the collective insurance, you have to have been working as a postdoctoral fellow for a minimum of 4 months, without any breaks longer than 6 months, and you must also be under RAMQ.

4. What expenses are reimbursed by the medical insurance?
The complete list of what is covered is available here.
Here are a few examples of what is covered:

  • Prescription drugs;
  • Ambulance;
  • Accessories for diabetes;
  • Orthopedics;
  • Artificial limbs.

5. Is there a dental plan?
No. You can however claim your dental expenses through you Health management account (Compte de gestion santé).

6. What is the Health management account (Compte de gestion santé)?
All the details about the health management account are available here.
It is an account in your name in which the insurance company deposits $45 every month. You can use this money to get a refund for any medical expense that is not covered by the medical insurance.

7. How can I benefit from maternity / paternity / parental leave?
You must inform your superior of your absence as early as possible before the beginning of your leave, indicating the estimated dates and length of the leave. You must also inform Human resources at 418-656-3718. All the details are available here and in chapter 20 of the collective agreement.

8. Do I qualify for RQAP and how to I sign up for it?
All postdoctoral fellows are eligible workers when it comes to the RQAP, as long as they meet the program’s conditions, which are:

  • To be a parent of a kid born or adopter after January 1st, 2006;
  • To be a resident of Québec;
  • To have stopped working or to have a salary decrease of at least 40%;
  • To have earned at least $2000 in the 52 weeks prior to the leave.

In order to sign up, go to http://www.rqap.gouv.qc.ca/Index_en.asp and follow the instructions.

9. I’m feeling ill. Can I take some time off?
Yes. Chapter 21 of the collective agreement says that in case of “disability”, you can take up to 35 weeks of sick leave per year, without any reduction of salary. You must inform your superior as soon as possible that you are taking leave, of the anticipated length and of your anticipated date of return. You must also provide a medical note from the 3rd day onwards.
Should you need more than 35 weeks of sick leave, the University stops paying you and the Long term salary insurance takes its place and pays you 85% of your after tax income, and this is non-taxable.

10. What is the RCRUL and should I joint it?
The Complementary retirement plan of Laval (Régime complémentaire de retraite de l’Université Laval (RCRUL)) is a retirement savings plan with fixed contribution and voluntary enrolment. When you join, the university puts in the equivalent of 8% of your before tax income, and you contribute 7.6% of your before tax income.
We strongly recommend that you enroll as soon as you meet the criteria, which are available here.

11. When will I receive my first paycheque?
Postdoctoral fellows are, just as the TAs and RAs and lecturers, paid at Laval under the “Delayed” pay calendar. You are therefore paid the 3rd Wednesday following your work, and not the week immediately following. For example, say you work weeks 1 and 2, then you will be paid during week 5, and not week 3.
You will receive you pay by direct deposit, electronically and straight to your bank. You must provide your banking information to the university in the appropriate section of Peoplesoft RH, the HR management software used by Université Laval.

12. Will I get a raise?
Yes. The collective agreement says at section 24.04 that all postdoctoral fellows are to get a 2% raise on the last Monday of March, which are March 28, 2016, March 27, 2017 and march 26, 2018.

13. Will I be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) at the end of my fellowship?
Yes, as long as you meet the criteria imposed by Service Canada. For the Quebec City area, you need to have worked a minimum of 700 hours in the 52 weeks preceding your application.
You will find all the details, information and procedures to follow to receive Employment Insurance benefits on Service Canada’s website.

14. Am I entitled to vacation (annual) leave?
Yes. The collective agreement says in chapter 25 that you have a vacation leave as soon as your first day of work. It starts with 20 days, and every year on your service anniversary another 20 days is added. Vacation leave is leave with pay. In order to take your leave, you must, come to an agreement with your supervisor concerning the dates and the length as early as possible.
All unused days remain in your bank until the end of your fellowship. Under normal circumstances, you must use up all your days before the end of your fellowship. However, if there remain days in your bank at the end, they will be paid out to you.

15. What is a Statutory Holiday?
A statutory holiday is a day where you are paid but you don’t come to work.
The collective agreement mentions 8 statutory holidays, in chapter 26:

  • The period from December 24 to January 2;
  • Good Friday;
  • Easter Monday;
  • The Fête Nationale du Québec (June 24th);
  • Canada Day (July 1st);
  • Labour Day (1st Monday in September);
  • Thanksgiving (2nd Monday in October);
  • The Fête de l’Université (December 8th) or a floating holiday.

16. What to do if my rights are not respected?
The first step is to try to resolve the problem directly with your supervisor. If that is not possible, whatever the reason, then it is time to contact us and we will gladly help you.
Should it prove impossible to find a solution informally, the collective agreement allows for a formal complaint, known as a grievance, to be filed and ultimately to be judged by an adjudicator, who is a neutral third party.

17. How much does the union cost?
The union dues are set by the general assembly. They are currently at 1.78% of your before tax income. Of that amount, about 0.74% goes to STEP, 0.96 goes to the PSAC, the larger organisation that STEP is part of, and 0.08% goes to the strike fund.

18. What does STEP do with the money from the union dues?
All the details are available here.
Of the 1.78% that make up the dues, about 0.74% go to STEP. It is mainly used to pay for the employees, rent and communications and visibility expenses. The rest, about 1.04%, goes to the Public service alliance of Canada (PSAC), the larger organisation that SETP is a part of, and is used to pay for advisors, adjudication fees, numerous training session and regular information campaigns aimed at improving the working and living conditions of all Canadians.

19. I want to volunteer. What can I do to help?
Woohoo! Welcome to the team!
In order to know exactly what are the current needs and opportunities, contact us and we’ll provide you with all the details.
We are always looking for delegates for the different departments. Delegates are the link between the STEP executive and the members, ensuring 2-way communication, and they also keep an eye open to make sure the collective agreement is respected in their workplace.