Bargaining updates

Update on Living Wage

April 03, 2023

SFU is taking steps to become a living wage employer for all employees. This will include adding a Living Wage requirement to contracts so that contracted workers in food services, cleaning and other services are guaranteed a living wage by their employers. 

A living wage represents the guaranteed minimum that an employee will earn, with most employees already earning above and beyond the living wage. 

What is a living wage?

A living wage is the hourly amount a family of four needs to cover basic expenses. The living wage takes into account an employee’s total compensation, including hourly wage and employer paid benefits. The current living wage in our community is $24.08 an hour, according to Living Wage for Families BC. 

How is a living wage calculated?

Living Wage for Families BC recognizes the value of non-mandatory benefits. When an employer provides extended health benefits it means that families do not need to purchase the extended health benefits themselves.

Source: Living Wage for Families BC

Who is eligible for a living wage?

  • The living wage applies to all employees who work more than 120 hours per year, with the following exemptions:
    • Interns and students completing practicum placements or co-op terms.
    • Apprentices and trainees, provided their probationary period or training period has a defined end point, at which time they are eligible for the living wage. 
    • Employees on their probationary period (up to six months). 

What non-mandatory benefits does SFU provide for employees?

  • Medical / Extended Health / Dental Plan – Employees who work at least 20 hours per week, working longer than four months are eligible for these benefits, and those who are not receive pay in lieu. 
  • Employee Family Assistance Program - All employees are eligible for the EFAP, a confidential support service that provides professional assistance to help employees and their families resolve issues that affect their personal and work lives.
  • Generous Leave Policy – SFU provides a generous sick leave and vacation benefit entitlement for our employees, varied by the different collective agreements, polices, and length of service. 
  • Many employee groups on campus experience additional benefits such as tuition waivers, a defined-benefit pension plan, funds for learning and professional development, and access to university amenities including recreation facilities, on-site daycare and more.

When can employees expect to earn a living wage? 

Most employees already earn a living wage, but for those who don’t, this change will take time  as SFU is a large organization with many different employee groups. Through ongoing bargaining negotiations with employee groups, SFU will table monetary proposals that address living wage gaps and expect to become a certified living wage employer by the end of this year. 

As SFU’s food service, cleaning, and other contracted services negotiate new contracts over the next three years, contract workers will begin earning a living wage. Through a living wage certification, the university aims to ensure fair wages and social inclusion for all contract workers.