Advocacy Corner: Probation and Breaks

August 6, 2016

Each month, our Advocates answer your anonymous questions about workplace challenges, the AD 10 policies and how they’re applied. Questions? Submit them anonymously here.


Hello, I'm Andrew Boden, an advocate on APSA's Advocacy Committee. On behalf of the Committee, I'm answering your questions related to probation and breaks.


  1. How many breaks do most APSA members take during the day? Do I get a 15 minute break for every 4 hours worked?

    AD 10.13 Work Schedules outlines a standard workday as seven hours and 12 minutes, exclusive of a meal period, but does not outline set coffee breaks. That’s because APSA members are considered to be self-directing and can exercise discretion about their work time; taking breaks when needed.

  2. Am I able to work from home if I choose to occasionally (e.g. 1 or 2 times a month)?

    This is a question for your supervisor. In the Work Schedule policy above, (AD 10.13), section 3.03 states that APSA staff will exercise discretion about the time and location of work performed in support of the established job objectives. We advise talking to your supervisor to determine whether your job objectives can be met by occasionally working from home.

  3. I did a job for almost a year at a very high level of efficiency and competency on a one-year contract. I applied for and won my position again (so I was awarded the position twice) yet I still had to do a 6-month probation period, which I find unfair and unnecessary. This is the type of thing APSA should be involved in on behalf of members- stopping SFU from implementing unreasonable employment practices.

    APSA was heavily involved with creating AD 10.22 Probation Period, as it gives members the opportunity to adjust to a new position. We also ensured that the policy included section 4.06, which states that the Probationary Period may be reduced or waived, in writing, at the discretion of the hiring supervisor.

    If you moved from a temporary position to a continuing one, or if you moved from another employee group and were appointed to a continuing position, you would be eligible for the Probation Period to be waived at your supervisor’s discretion.

  4. The policy for resigning from the University states that we need to submit the written notice 4 weeks before the date of resignation. Does the timeframe still apply if taking another position within the University? I have received conflicting answers on the subject.

    As the individual is not resigning from the the University, the written four weeks notice timeframe does not apply.  Policy AD 10.03 Posting and Filling of Positions, states: 5.06 Reasonable notice is expected when an Employee transfers from one department to another department within the University. The supervisors in the two departments should consult with each other and arrive at a mutually acceptable transfer date.  however, it is at the discretion of your supervisors. The hiring supervisor and your previous supervisor may discuss what the required notice or new start date would be.


Previous Advocacy Corners:


Coworker Concerns


Time off in lieu

Variable Scheduled Work Week