H.F. of Fredericton writes
I am a contract instructor. Course assignments at my institution are by seniority, based on points accumulated per course taught. How can I continue my seniority during an upcoming pregnancy leave?
David Robinson answers
This is an important question, raising fundamental workplace equity issues. The answer will depend on your collective agreement. Most agreements stipulate that seniority is not lost during such leave periods; being unavailable to teach a course should not count as a refusal, and existing points should not expire. Additionally, some associations have negotiated language allowing instructors to accumulate seniority points for courses they would have taught but for the leave. For example, agreements generally specify that
if you take your leave when a course is already underway, you still earn full seniority points. Other agreements provide that if you have a standing appointment, or a minimum assigned course load, points continue to accumulate based on your position’s defined workload. Agreements may also assign seniority points by averaging your past teaching load over time. In your situation the appropriate step is to talk to your academic staff association, and review the collective agreement with them. Whatever the method used to preserve seniority rights while on pregnancy or parental leave, it should comply with human rights legislation. If it doesn’t, your job, along with your colleagues and association, is to make sure it does.