Winter 2024 end-of-semester update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Sessionals,

Congratulations, we’ve nearly reached the end of the semester. This is our end-of-the-semester update. Below you will see information about post-contract work, the large class supplemental payment, health care spending, professional development fund access, and information about employment insurance.

Final payment

The final pay of the semester will arrive in your account on Friday April 19th and will cover the period from March 31st to the end of term. As of April 20th, your contract is officially over and you should not work past this point.

Large Class Supplement 
We have learned that some sessionals have yet to be paid the Large Class Supplemental Fee. For those of you earning thebase rate($8056.37) and teaching a class with more than 75 students, please note that your last pay stub should reflect an additional supplementary payment of $2.00 per student per unit for each student above 75.  For a typical 3-unit course, this would amount to $6.00 per student for each student above 75. If you taught a class with more than 75 students and you have yet to see the supplemental fee added, please reach out to your department ASAP to confirm that this additional supplement will be paid on April 19th. We are happy to help if there are any issues.

Post contract work
Any post-contract work (that is, work requested by your supervisor and done after your final grades have been submitted) is separate from your contract and payable at a rate of $71.13/hour. This would include reviewing grades that are being challenged, marking exam that have been deferred, addressing outstanding SAS issues, and dealing with cases of plagiarism. This is not an exhaustive list, and more information, including the appropriate form you’ll need to fill out and submit to get paid, is available here. If you are asked to perform this work and are collecting EI, please let us know.  Once your marks have been submitted (the main list, this does not need to include any deferred exams or extensions based on accommodations), your contract is over and this triggers the beginning of the post-contract period.

Employment insurance
The final pay for this term is April 19th.This final pay on April 19th represents what Service Canada refers to as an ‘interruption of earnings’  and should be the date you list on your EI application as the last pay date (not the date for which you were last paid). The ‘day for which you were last paid’ and your ‘last day worked’ should be listed as April 10th.  We would encourage all Sessionals who might utilize Employment Insuranceat any point in 2024 to apply after April 19th, even if you are employed during the spring/summer term.

The first pay in the Spring term, for those of you who are employed, will be on May 17th and the first day of work will be May 6th. This means you might be able to collect EI from April 20th to May 6th if you have enough insurable hours. For information on EI, click here. If you have already served a withholding period in the past 52 weeks, you might be able to collect EI as of April 20th. If you have not served a withholding period, you can serve one week waiting period in late April and collect EI thereafter.

In certain instances, it is possible to both work and collect EI (with some clawbacks) if the amount of work have in the winter has dropped substantially from the work you had during the fall term. More information is available here.

If you have any EI questions, we recommend that you speak with someone from Service Canada. Any information provided here are simply insights and you should clarify things with Service Canada as their understanding is legally correct and they can follow-up for over-payment if things are not done correctly.

The employer will upload your ROE automatically to Service Canada at some point in late April 2024, but please apply to EI as soon as you can after April 19th if you plan to utilize EI in the spring/summer.

Please note that there are many individual factors that determine your ability to access EI to which we are not privy (such as how many hours you have worked in the past year outside of McMaster or the bargaining unit, etc.).  Only the government can give you definitive information about your particular circumstances.  Please be sure to review regulations and information at the government links (provided above).

Professional Development
For those of you who are curious, applications made to the Professional Development Fund this fall will be adjudicated later this month and cheques will be mailed out soon. If you have any PDF questions, please email If you missed the winter deadline, you can apply at any point in the upcoming spring/summer semester.

Health Care Spending Account
A quick reminder about your Health Care Spending Account entitlement of $500 per academic year. The fund covers the cost of various health care related expenses (as approved by Revenue Canada) and provides a tax-free reimbursement to you. More information is available here:

There is no cost or fee to you. The fund is secured through collective bargaining and made available to members to use as needed. You can still make a claim in 2024 if you are no longer teaching, so long as you worked at some point in the fall 2023 or winter 2024 semester.