I apologize for throwing so much at you at the end of the term and in one email. Please save this email or print it to review again in January if you cannot process it now. It contains important information about the next round of merit assessment in 2021, new home office cost rules from Canada Revenue, and a reminder about requesting teaching supports.
1. 2021 Merit Assessment: Please review the attachment for details on changes in the coming round of merit assessment. I will answer some questions that members raised since I first circulated the Infosheet.
a. Effect on Pension: If one retires before 2020 is assessed for merit in 2022, is there any impact on pension? If you will retire on a minimum guarantee pension AND you would have received a significantly higher merit award than 10 for 2020 (e.g. 15) then there would be an extremely small impact on your Best Average Earnings (48 months). Otherwise there is no impact. Queen’s and QUFA thought about this and are satisfied that the change in merit for next year will not substantially harm retiring members.
b. 2019 as a stand-alone Assessment: Some members raised the concern that they might be negatively impacted by the separation of assessment of 2019 from that of 2020 where they treated the two periods as linked in terms of their research endeavours. If that is your situation, please be very clear about it in your 2019 performance report so that your assessors can be sure to not penalize you for a procedural change you had no ability to plan for.
c. Exceptions: There can be no exceptions to the decision of when each year will be assessed. Merit is a comparative exercise that has to follow precise numerical rules based on everyone being assessed at the same time. Unfortunately, whatever your circumstance, Queen’s can not assess your 2020 year for merit in this coming round as an exception.
2. Home Office Costs: There is a new option for recouping home office expenses when you file your taxes. It isn’t a large sum of money ($400 maximum) but it will not require anyone to sign forms and it won’t require you to produce receipts. More information about this will be forthcoming from the Canada Revenue Agency. You may find this article helpful to explain the options available:
3. Teaching Support: Please note that QUFA negotiated support for remote teaching as follows:
Teaching Support: A Member instructing a course remotely shall receive a level of teaching support that is appropriate for the work entailed in managing remote delivery of a course of that size and complexity. Members may apply in writing to their Unit Head for additional teaching support required to manage the course, documenting the reasons for which they require support. These needs may be met in a variety of ways, including, for example, IT/ CTL and/or Teaching Assistant hours. (from the COVID LOU, Schedule C, available here: https://www.qufa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Schedule-C-to-COVID-LOU-fully-executed-May-23_2020.pdf)
If you anticipate needing additional teaching assistant hours for Winter courses to those that are normally provided for a course of that size and level, please ask your Head in writing now or as early in the term as possible, making the case clearly for why other kinds of support will not suffice. To repeat, additional teaching assistant support is not automatic so you must be clear as to why the remote teaching context makes a person rather than technical support necessary for you to teach your course. If you are denied teaching assistant support in the coming term, please reach out to QUFA with the details as soon as you can.
If you have questions about this email, please note that I will be away from the afternoon of December 18 to January 3. I’ll respond as soon as I can when I return.
I wish you all a restful holiday season; I know how much you deserve it and how badly you need it!
Queen’s University Faculty Association