The Faculty Association has become aware of situations where a member has been told by the Administration that the University can deviate from the Collective Agreement to waive the requirements of Article 16.20 of the Collective Agreement. Article 16.20 requires academic staff to return to the University and render regular full-time or part-time service following a Research and Scholarship Leave (RSL) equal to the length of the RSL or reimburse the University financially if the member is unable to return to complete the return service.
For most members, there is no issue with returning to the University to complete the return service, but sometimes members seek and are offered other positions outside of the University of Calgary with a start date that makes it impossible for them to complete the return service. In such cases, the member is obligated under the Collective Agreement to reimburse the University for the remuneration received during the RSL.
The Faculty Association has argued at the bargaining table that the requirement for return service is inappropriate as the member provides the service to build credit towards the RSL. However, the Governors have refused to agree to this. Despite this position, they occasionally tell members that this provision could be waived with the agreement of the Association. This puts the Association in an awkward position. If we agree to such exceptions, we are allowing the Administration to ‘cherry-pick’ who is able to get this benefit, as they clearly are not letting everyone have it. It would also be disingenuous and unfair to those who make decisions on the basis of the existing rules where others are able to have the rules waived. For those reasons, the Association has refused to waive this requirement except in conditions outside of the control of the academic staff member (e.g., illness).
We will continue to press for changes to the Collective Agreement to eliminate return service for all members.