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CBC/Radio-Canada Workload Agreement Guide

A CBC/CMG agreed upon guideline for managers and employees|


Resolving identified workload issues is a joint process available only to employees who are self-assigned due to the nature and degree of control they have over their assignments.

The self-assigned person is expected to arrange his/her hours, days of work, rest days etc., in order to complete his/her assignments consistent with the economy of operation and good staff employee relations. The self-assigned (weekly) person has rest and work days assigned, and is expected to arrange his/her hours of work outside of the rest days.

The purpose of workload is to ensure that each person (self-assigned and self-assigned (weekly) is obtaining fair and reasonable remuneration, time off etc., for their contributions. Workload agreements are warranted where the nature of assignment requires unusual ongoing demands on the employee’s time.

For clarity and reference, the work week should normally be based on a 38.75-hour model.

It is understood that the self-assigned and workload provisions of the collective agreement will not be used in an exploitative manner, but rather to enhance and make the workplace more effective. Articles 35.10, 35.11, 35.12 & 35.13 (attached) are the articles in the collective agreement governing workload and self-assignment. They should be read and understood before workload discussions take place.

It is understood that there will be assignments where there is no requirement for a workload agreement, given the fact the assignment is not on an ongoing basis, unusually demanding, and can be completed within expected time frames.

NOTE: This document is a guideline, and in the event of a dispute, the collective agreement will be the governing document and process.


The programme manager will, at the minimum, conduct a yearly review of the requirements of each self-assigned or self-assigned (weekly) position. Employees can request a review of their workload agreement, if they feel there is a change in expectations which requires unusual ongoing demands on the employee’s time, or the agreement does not cover the requirements of their time, as it relates to the assignment(s).

The employee and programme manager or his/her delegate should meet to discuss the assignment and workload with a view to developing a satisfactory resolution, if substantial workload is identified.

Employees should not be presented with a workload agreement before any discussions have taken place.

Employees should consult with their Union representative relating to workload issues, before commencing the process. (Employees may be assisted in these discussions by a Union representative.)

This review should include the complete nature and requirements of the assignment(s), including available staff, facilities, programme objectives, ongoing unusual demands on the person’s time, and the number of rest days likely to be worked. The employees’ expected pattern of work will be referenced, if known (i.e. the normal requirements are Monday to Friday et cetera).

This does not, nor should it, include any reference to scheduled hours, given the self-assigning nature of the employee’s role. However, the regular work week can be used for reference purposes.

If after the meeting the employee is not satisfied, the issue will be forwarded to the National Joint Committee for further review and final resolution.

The issue(s) in dispute will be clearly identified for the National Committee.
Once identified and signed off, an employee will not be required to maintain a workload in excess of what was agreed upon and signed for. If substantially new ongoing duties or a special short-term assignment is given, causing additional demands on time, a new review will be required as soon as possible.

Workload Agreement

Workload is not just about extra money. Solutions may include:

– alternative organization of staff and facilities;
– changes to the assignment;
– extra compensation;
– agreement (with the employee) to other innovative and acceptable solutions which solve(s) the issue(s).
– additional rest days

Remedies should not include:

– unpaid leave;
– proposing time to think and plan as compensation for excessive hours;
– thinking and planning can be part of an employee’s normal duties;
– a change in assignment solely in lieu of compensation.

It is strongly recommended that workload reviews be done separate and apart from individual contract negotiations or other reviews.

Extra compensation under the workload agreement should not cover items that are covered under other articles in the collective agreement, such as:

– extra responsibility outside of employee’s jurisdiction (i.e. management responsibilities, upgrades);
– special assignments to senior or executive producers;
– freelance work;
– recognition of prominence and excellence, special production skills, special expertise, special initiatives or achievements of significant benefit to the Corporation.

It is important to remember that no amount of money can compensate for the imposition of an unreasonable workload; it is preferable to assign additional staff, reduce the workload or the demands on time, or if possible, assign additional rest days.

Management should use its best efforts to ensure employees are not, on an ongoing basis, assigned tasks causing a substantial workload (and/or a workload) that requires long hours on a continual basis.

If an employee’s assignment regularly carries a workload compensation, it’s only fair to consider a similar workload agreement for an employee’s long term replacement or successor, pro-rated (if, and as necessary).

The workload agreement should be completed at the workload meeting with the employee, or as soon as possible thereafter. The document must clearly identify what is being agreed to and must provide a clear agreed on remedy for any identified workload issues(s) and agreement.

The workload should cover a period of not more than one year at a time. Given the nature of the agreement, it is not necessary to have a cancellation provision. Significant changes to the assignment will likely require a new review and a modified workload agreement. The workload agreement must be signed by the employee and his/her manager.

Note: Managers and Employees at the local level should try to resolve any “problem” issues before referring them to the National Joint Committee for resolution.

Agreement Structure – Putting It In Writing

When a workload problem is identified and is being addressed through a workload document, the workload agreement should be structured as follows:

A. Workload Agreement
The agreement should be clearly identified as a Workload Agreement.

B. Employee Name

C. Assignment, Location
The nature of the employee’s assignment and location.

D. Expected Workload
This could include the program objectives, the staffing, and other resources available to the employee. The agreed expectations of output should be detailed in the workload agreement. This could include items such as the average number of stories to be generated weekly, number of specials, documentaries, dramas or concerts to be worked on in the year, number of contributions to network programs, production of daily or weekly programs, et cetera.

Outline, as clearly as possible, the expected pattern of work and responsibilities. This can include a reference to days or total demands on the employee’s time. This does not, nor should it, include any reference to scheduled hours, given the self-assigning nature of the employee’s role.

From time to time, an employee may be asked or assigned to work on special short-term assignment(s) (e.g. documentary series, special events and/or out of town/country assignments) that require(s) excessive workload hours for a short duration. If that is the case, a workload agreement should be discussed and be agreed upon prior to the assignment.

Be as specific as possible. Continuous substantial work demands, i.e. early morning or late evening work, calls after hours, number of rest days likely to be worked, constant weekends, continual requirement to be on-call via pagers or cell phones, continual requirement to work at home or corporation supplied computers for work at home et cetera, can be addressed in the workload agreement.

Note: Management should be made aware of and approve such pager, cellular phone, and at home work, in order that it is part of an identified and agreed to workload.

E. Remedy – this section must be clear and specific.

F. Duration – period the workload agreement covers.

G. Signature requirement for manager and employee.

The National Joint Committee’s role

Copies of all “agreed to” workload agreements will be forwarded to the National Office of the Canadian Media Guild and the National Joint Committee (quarterly) for informational purposes. If there is a disagreement with the workload, it will be referred to the National Joint Committee for final resolution.

The National Joint Committee will review the issue(s) in dispute and will determine the appropriate remedy which will be communicated to the parties involved.

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