One Page Summary for Supervisors

Eligible grant-funded Research Assistants (based on the type of work they do), are being transitioned by RPI to be employees of SFU, rather than of individual grant holders. Research grant employees continue to report directly to the Supervisor, and Supervisors continue to be responsible for managing the employees who report to them in accordance with legislation like BC’s Employment Standards Act.

The following summarizes some of the important things to know about governance requirements, procedures and accountabilities. More detail can be found on the Employing Grant-Funded Research Assistants website and in the BC Employment Standards Guide.


Who is eligible to be an SFU employee?

At this time, grant-funded individuals in Funds 13 & the 30s are eligible. Appointments in these funds with end dates beyond March 1, 2021 will be next to receive Offers of Employment to confirm their employment status.

Graduate students receiving funding support through scholarship income, are not employees and will not be transitioned to University employment.


Planning for the cost of employment and benefits

Employees must be paid at least BC’s minimum wage (currently $14.60/hour). Any rate of pay above minimum wage is at the discretion of the Supervisor.

The Supervisor’s grant will continue to be responsible for all costs including statutory benefits: Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Employment Insurance (EI), Workers’ Compensation (WCB) and the Employer Health Tax (EHT).

Supervisors may offer extended health and dental benefits (discretionary) if discretionary benefits are an allowable expense by the granting agency (employer portion is 50%, RA pays 50%). Note that Tri-Council grants generally do not allow for coverage of discretionary benefits.

See Planning tab for more information.


Vacation entitlement

Hourly employees must receive a minimum of 4% pay in lieu of vacation time. There is no requirement for employees to take vacation time and any time taken would be unpaid. This option for pay in lieu of vacation time is available for salaried employees whose appointment is 4 months or less.

Salaried employees must receive a minimum of 2 weeks’ vacation per year (pro-rated for appointments of <1 year):

  • Supervisors must track employee vacation time taken. If any vacation time is unused at the end of an appointment, it will be paid out to the employee, from the granting source.
  • Supervisors should ensure all employees request vacation time in writing.
  • An in-house system may be available for time recording (ask your Department Manager or Financial Assistant); or use the time recording tool created by RPI.  
  • A calculator is available to help determine vacation time for employment durations of less than one year, and any required vacation payouts.

See Planning tab or BC Employment Standards Act for more information.


Overtime and statutory holidays

Any hours worked over 8 in one day or 40 in one week are subject to overtime rates.

Overtime must be pre-approved in writing by the Supervisor.

When appointing, consideration must be given to the total number of hours an individual is working in all positions they hold at SFU. Total number of hours cannot exceed 8 hours in one day or 80 hours bi-weekly; at that point overtime will apply.

Employees who have been employed for 30 days and have worked for 15 of the past 30 days qualify to be paid for statutory holidays.

See Supervising tab or BC Employment Standards Act for more information.


Termination & resignation

Employees and Supervisors will receive a notice from RPI that the appointment end date is approaching. The Supervisor will have the option of extending the appointment or allowing it to end.

Supervisors should request written notice of resignation if an RA requests to end their appointment early.

Written notice is required when a Supervisor ends an appointment prior to the end date in the Offer of Employment; and the RA must be provided either a notice period or a payout for the amount of the notice period.

Appointments may be terminated for cause without notice; however, documentation and oversight are required – contact your Department Manager or before proceeding with a termination for cause.

See Concluding tab or BC Employment Standards Act for more information.


Employee supervision and documentation

Nothing changes regarding the Supervisor’s role in orienting new employees, supervising the RA’s work or the requirement to keep track of time worked and time off.

The RPI team will maintain employee files for this group of RAs.

A new employee orientation module specific to RAs and PDFs is available in Canvas. A link will be provided to RAs in their employment confirmation package. Supervisors may wish to familiarize themselves with the content.


How to complete the PAF

The Payroll Appointment Form (PAF) is used to initiate payments to individuals who are not affiliated with an employee group and who will hold non-continuing appointments at the university. 

This form now allows for the collection of information to create Offers of Employment for those RAs under funds 13 and the 30s who are eligible for employment status.

Authorizing signatures are required on page 1. Email authorizations are also acceptable.

INFORMATION REQUIRED for offers of employment - ra appointments

At the top, indicate the type of activity the PAF is initiating so it can be processed accurately.

Check the employment type; enter the SFU ID, RA name, department, position title (doesn’t have to be Research Assistant), start and end dates.

Enter the rate amount you intend to pay:

  • “Hourly Rate” works well if the RA is likely to work irregular hours (requires more diligent timekeeping - a time recording tool is available here)
  • “Bi-weekly Payment Amount” is best if the RA is likely to work regular hours
  • Enter the expected number of hours the RA will work
  • Note that pay must meet the ESA’s minimum wage of $14.60/hr
  • Note that vacation pay is added on top of the hourly pay rate and bi-weekly salary in cases where pay in lieu of vacation is being paid

Check to indicate whether or not you are offering the RA extended health benefits.


  • Enter the funding source account code(s) and % split and the corresponding bi-weekly amount for those being paid a bi-weekly salary.
  • Use the Comments box to explain unusual circumstances, to provide greater clarity or the reason a lump sum payment is requested.
  • Complete the contact information section and sign page 1 (email authorization is also acceptable).

page 2 is dedicated for ra appointment processing

  • Complete the relevant section depending on the processing action required. 


  •  Entering vacation pay:
    • Bi-weekly Salaried employees are entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks’ vacation
    • A minimum of 4% can be paid in lieu of vacation time for bi-weekly salaried appointments shorter than 4 months 
    • Hourly employees are paid a minimum of 4% in lieu of vacation time
    • Note this amount needs to be separate from the employee’s rate of pay
  • Entering job duties:
    • Consider what the Offer of Employment should reflect in terms of the expectations for work to be performed.


Please submit completed PAFs and supporting documentation via email:

See the How to complete the PAF tab for more detailed instructions.


What happens after you submit a PAF

Once the funding sources have been verified, PAFs are forwarded to RPI, where Offers of Employment are created and sent to the RA via DocuSign (copying the Supervisor and department administration).

When the RA returns a signed Offer, the Supervisor and department administration will be notified through DocuSign.

To follow up on the status of an appointment, use the query: SFUDA_RA_ADMINISTER_EES in myINFO.



Many additional resources are posted on the Links and Resources tab.

A fact sheet with things for Supervisors to consider is also available.

Please speak with your Department Manager or email if you have further questions.