Amidst COVID-19, campus employers are having to amend work expectations or part with employees.
Students who work on campus and their employers are finding ways to honour contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students with positions through Career Boost — a program that co-ordinates campus-wide jobs — are working remotely until winter semester work contracts end on April 3. Those who work customer-facing jobs have not been working but will be able to receive pay for their average weekly hours.
Sam Deeley, a fourth-year new media student, has been working as a production assistant at the Equipment Distribution Centre (EDC) in the Rogers Communications Centre for two years. She said that after classes were moved online, she and other coworkers were unsure about what would happen to their public-facing jobs.
“It was changing day-to-day and even hour-to-hour and we really didn’t know what was going to happen next,” she said. After first reducing operating hours, the EDC eventually closed. Soon after, the employees were informed that they would be able to continue logging hours.
“I think that, at least in my experience, the Career Boost situation has been really dealt with properly,” said Deeley. “There are some people who are really counting on that money, so for us to continue getting paid during a situation that is out of our control is really generous.”
Students employed by Ryerson Housing and Residence have been switching to remote work where possible, but some public-facing students are still working. A spokesperson said that extra safety precautions are being provided, such as additional cleaning measures and supplies, and that accommodations are being made for students who do not feel comfortable working. In an email, the spokesperson wrote that the office is “honouring student staff contracts even if they have decided to go home and are not working shifts.”
Deeley said not being able to go to work has added to the stresses of dealing with COVID-19. “I think for a lot of people, they will probably be pretty happy knowing that they get to clock in their hours and not have to go to work, but I have a very close group of friends at work so when we found out that we weren’t going to be able to see each other anymore it was actually a huge bummer.”