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Temporary Employees at CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC hires a large number of temporary employees whose interests are too often ignored. The Guild wants to improve your working conditions and your opportunities at the CBC. We hope this information helps to clarify your rights and the CBC’s obligations under the Collective Agreement.

If there are questions you need answered, or issues you think need to be addressed, please get in touch with us. Talk to a Guild volunteer in your location – find the list here –  or contact the Guild national office at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

Note: information on this web page is intended to assist members in understanding their collective agreement. It is not intended to serve as an interpretive document. Please refer to the CBC-CMG collective agreement for the actual language.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a temporary employee?

You are a temporary employee if you are hired to fill in for someone who is absent from his or her job, or to work on a special project.

The CBC can hire temporary employees for certain specific reasons:
● to replace an absent worker, usually called backfill. This includes covering for others on maternity leave, vacations, long- or short-term disability leave.
● for emergencies
● for special projects or events, for example, elections or special broadcasts

If you are called in on occasion to work at CBC, chances are you are what’s called a per-occasion temporary employee.

This means on some days you may be called in to work at the last minute. Other times you will be promised several days or weeks of work in advance.

Am I a casual?

Officially there is no such thing as a casual at the CBC. The term “casual” or “casual employee” is not in the Collective Agreement. In reality though, the term is used informally to refer to per-occasion temporary employees.

What kind of documentation should I get as a temporary employee?
You should get a form to fill out that puts you on the payroll. Sometimes it’s called a start slip.You should also receive a letter of engagement that spells out your start and end date, classification and your pay rate.

If you are covering for someone on leave (eg. maternity, long- or short-term disability, etc.) or engaged for 13 weeks or more, you should find out the name of the person you are replacing.

Be sure to keep all written information you receive from the CBC about your employment. If your engagement is renewed several times, your records could be important (see “How do I become permanent?”).

Am I entitled to benefits?

That depends. If you work less than 13 weeks, or as a per-occasion temporary, you will be paid a premium of 12.5 per cent on top of your base salary. This premium includes 4% vacation pay and 8.5% in lieu of sick leave, pension, health and dental benefits.

Temporary employees employed at least four days per week for more than 13 weeks are entitled to health and dental benefits and sick leave. Your benefits kick in after week 13. In addition, you will get some extra cash in lieu of a pension.

If you are re-employed by the CBC within 13 weeks of leaving, and you were on the benefits plan when you left, you should get benefits immediately, without having to go through the 13-week qualification period again.

Click here for an update from April 12, 2007.

And if you don’t work enough at CBC to be eligible for employer benefits, as a CMG member, you are eligible to enroll in group health and dental benefits through the Writers Coalition. Click here to find out more.

Do I get vacation pay?
Again, it depends. If you work less than 13 weeks, or as a per-occasion temporary, you get vacation pay of 4%.

If you have a letter of engagement to work for 13 weeks or more, you will not get vacation pay. Instead, you build vacation days at a rate of 1.25 days per month.

What happens if I’m sick?
As a general rule, if you have benefits, you are entitled to paid sick days.

Do I get paid extra for statutory holidays?
If you work the holiday, you will be paid your base salary plus time and a half.

If you have a letter of engagement for 13 weeks or more, you will be paid your regular salary even if you don’t work on the holiday.

If you are a per-occasion temporary employee, you may also earn some money – even if you didn’t work the stat holiday. The calculation is a little  complicated … based on how much you’ve worked in the preceding 30 days. If you worked the day before and after the statutory holiday, you will be paid for the holiday at a rate of one-twentieth of the wages you earned during the 30 calendar days immediately preceding the holiday.

Do I have access to training?
Yes. When you begin work, you get up to two weeks of supervised on-the-job orientation and/or training.

Temporary employees can also take courses offered by the CBC, and be paid at their regular salary rate to do so. If you are interested in taking a particular course, talk to your supervisor.

What can I do if my supervisor stops giving me shifts?
If you are a per-occasion temporary, CBC is not required to give you any notice.

If you are engaged for more than 13 weeks, you should receive two weeks notice, or pay in lieu of notice, if you are released prior to the agreed term.

If you have any concerns that you being treated unfairly, talk to your union rep.

How much notice must I be given if my supervisor wants to cancel or change my shift? 
If you are on a posted schedule, you must be given 72 hours notice of a schedule change unless there is an emergency or you are working on a location shoot. In those cases, the change can be made before the end of your shift the day before.

Can I acquire seniority?
Yes, but only in a limited way. As a temporary employee, you are entitled to a raise in pay after every 261 days doing work in jobs in the same salary band. You should keep track of this yourself, and not assume that Human Resources will automatically raise your pay.

Other seniority benefits only kick in once you have been hired into a permanent position. If you get hired straight into a permanent job at the CBC, your continuous service as a temporary employee up to that point will count towards your seniority as a permanent employee.

Can I work for employers besides the CBC?
Yes. As a temporary employee you can work elsewhere.

Can I take a parental leave?
You can take parental leave if you have worked full-time for a year. See Article 69 of the Collective Agreement.

How do I become permanent?
The usual way is to apply for a posted opening for a permanent position and be interviewed for that position. But the collective agreement also allows for temporary employees to be converted to permanent status under certain conditions.

If you have been working in the same position, in the same location and component (eg. TV or radio) for 18 months (or for 2 years if you’re replacing someone on long-term disability leave) you should be converted to permanent status.

It’s important to keep documentation that helps prove you are eligible for conversion to permanent status. If your engagement is renewed several times, this record could be important when trying to convert to permanent status.

As well, if you’ve been told you are covering for an employee on leave, or you are engaged for 13 weeks or more, find out the name the person you are replacing. If you aren’t replacing anyone, there may be an opportunity to create a permanent position that you could apply for. The CBC is prohibited from engaging temporary employees to avoid filling a vacancy for a permanent job. If you are concerned you are being used this way, talk to your union rep.

Can I collect E-I if I find myself without work?
That depends on how much and how long you have worked and on the reason you find yourself without work. Contact your local EI office or visit www.hrsdc.gc.ca .

Find out more by clicking here to consult the collective agreement between the Canadian Media Guild and the CBC.

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