Next To No Benefits

Very few universities recognize postdocs as employees, even though the work they do is very similar to faculty members and other recognized university staff. A major consequence of this, beyond low pay, is that the vast majority of postdocs are not even eligible for the most basic protection afforded to domestic and foreign workers in Canada.

We borrow from a list that was created by the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars just to demonstrate how lengthy that list is:

Leaves of Absence
1. Maternity Benefits (Federal: 55% of average wages to a yearly maximum of $41,500 for up to 15 weeks of job protected leave)
2. Parental Benefits (Federal: 55% of average wages to a yearly maximum of $41,500 for up to 35 weeks of job protected leave)
3. Personal Sickness Benefits (Federal: 55% of average wages to a yearly maximum of $41,500 for up to 15 weeks of job protected leave)
4. Compassionate Care Benefits: (Federal: up to 6 weeks job protected leave to care for a sick or dying family member)
5. Reservist Leave (Ontario)
Other Benefits
− Vacation Days (Ontario: minimum 2 weeks per year above and beyond statutory)
− Public Holidays (Ontario: in addition to vacation days, mandatory paid days off or additional pay during 9 public holidays)
− Vacation Pay (Ontario: would amount to an immediate 4% wage increase)
− Hours (Ontario: PDFs can, but could not be forced to, work more than 8 hours per day or 48 hours a week. Overtime pay could apply for overtime hours.)
− Unemployment payments
− Minimum wage applies
− Covered by WSIB for on the job accidents, right to refuse unsafe work
− International PDFs have access to the same benefits as Canadian citizens and permanent residence: layoff, sickness, maternity, parental and family medical leave under EI
− Access to public health insurance for international workers on work visas

On top of this, supplemental health benefits, usually in the form of opt-in expensive health plans that can cost upward of $500-$1,200/year, are either non-existent or paid for by postdocs themselves or their supervisors.
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