Part-time/Partial Load/Sessional – What’s the difference?

There are three categories of contract faculty work at Ontario colleges:

1. Part-time
2. Partial Load
3. Sessional

Your category—or status—can impact your rate of pay, access to benefits and pension contributions, internal status for full-time faculty position competitions, right to teach preferred courses, and more.

What is your status?

1–6 hours per week of teaching contact hours — Part-time.
You are not in a union. Your contract is not governed by a Collective Agreement. There are no benefits or pension contributions. Your rate of pay is negotiated by you. If there is a full-time faculty position posted and you would like to apply, you are not considered an internal candidate. (Although being an internal candidate is not always required, internal candidates are generally given preference.) Please note, Part-time Faculty did vote to unionize, but unionization of Part-time Faculty is a slow process. Visit http://www.contractfaculty.ca/ to learn more.

7–12 hours per week of teaching contact hours — Partial Load. You are in the union — Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).
Your contract is governed by the same Collective Agreement as Full-time/non-contract faculty (https://opseu.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2017-2021_academic_collective_agreement_final_eng_signed_website.pdf). During your contract, you have access to benefits and pension contributions. If you apply for a Full-time faculty position during your contract and up to four months after it ends, you are considered an internal candidate. While you are Partial-load, the “Partial Load Registry” tracks courses you have taught, and while the system is not perfect, it should mean that you build up a seniority of sorts regarding whether or not you are hired back as Partial Load to teach courses you have taught before. (Registry is available in “PeopleSoft Faculty Center” via slc.me) After your contract ends, you are recognized as a member of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) for six months (although your benefits and pension contributions do not continue).

12+ hours per week of teaching contact hours — Sessional.
You are not in a union. Your contract is not governed by a Collective Agreement. There are no benefits or pension contributions. Your rate of pay is negotiated by you. If there is a Full-time faculty position posted and you would like to apply, you are not considered an internal candidate. Often, a Sessional contract can actually mean more hours of work for a smaller pay cheque. If you are offered a Sessional contract, please reach out to a Local Steward to discuss the implications. Accepting a Sessional Position is generally not advised. Further, if you have worked as a Sessional Faculty member for 12 months or more within a 24 month period, contact a Steward to discuss your employment status. https://slcfaculty.ca/executive/

If you are Partial Load, please sign your union card. You are in the union and pay the same dues and levy whether or not you sign your union card, but signing your card allows your union local to know who you are and how to contact you. It also means more of the dues and levy you pay comes back from OPSEU to your local to pay for legal fees, picket pay, and more for you and your union colleagues. Print, sign, and forward this form to SLC Faculty Local 417 Secretary Sara Craig: sara.craig@slcfaculty.ca

Membership card: opseu.org/information/need-a-membership-card/12941

If you are Partial Load, opt in to extended healthcare benefits. If you decline extended healthcare benefits, you cannot opt in later unless you leave Partial Load status for at least six months. Extended healthcare benefits are 100% paid for by the employer. Visit mysunlife.ca.

If you are Partial Load, check the Partial Load Registry for accuracy. While it is not perfect the Partial Load Registry is meant to provide Partial Load members a sort of seniority, allowing for priority for assigning courses to you based on your number of semesters of service. The more semesters you have taught is what determines your access to a specific course, not the number of times you have taught that particular course. Your status in the Partial Load Registry can be compromised by splitting partial load contracts into part-time contracts. If you are Partial Load and you are not registered in the Partial Load Registry by October 30th, the college could consider that you are not interested in teaching for the following full year. You should check the accuracy of the registry when you register annually on “PeopleSoft Faculty Center” via slc.me.

Fanshawe College Local 110 has a great overview of Partial Load status, with a bit of detail for Part-time and Sessional, here:
opseu110.ca/members-opseu-local-110/partial-load

Reach out to a Steward if you would like clarification or have any concerns: slcfaculty.ca/about

If you are Partial Load Faculty and you are interested in becoming more involved with your union, please click here to learn more about a new subcommittee for Partial Load concerns and issues.