Staff Handbook

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This page documents an adopted policy of Free Geek Vancouver
Approved by: Operations on September 13th, 2011.
This page contains the essential policies and procedures that all staff are expected to be aware of and abide by at all times while employed at Free Geek. These policies are additional to, and are not intended to contradict the Employment Standards Act of BC

                                               note: the information on this page is outdated. 

Work Hours

  • Staff are expected to work from 10:30am until 6:30pm (8 hours/day).
  • Full-time employees work Tuesday through Saturday (40 hours/week).
  • Part-time employees some portion thereof, as agreed upon by Staff and Directors.


  • Each day includes one 30 minute lunch break.
  • Each day includes one 15 minute coffee break in the morning, and one in the afternoon.
  • Breaks should be coordinated amongst staff to minimize disruption to operations.
  • All breaks are considered paid.
  • Break times are mandatory and cannot be combined, accumulated, or transferred.

Lateness & Absences

  • Lateness or Absences must be reported to other Staff by phone as soon as possible. In addition, they must be reported on the Staff mailing list.
  • It is the responsibility of all staff to ensure that their job function is covered if they are not available.


  • Employees may not work more than their allotted daily or weekly hours (8hrs/day and 40hrs/week for Full-time, or the portion thereof for Part-time).
  • Employees may work outside of normal work hours, but must adjust their regular hours to stay within their daily/weekly allotment.
  • Adjustments should be coordinated amongst staff to minimize disruption to operations.
  • Overtime may be allowed in exceptional circumstances, but must be approved in advance by Staff and Directors. Overtime will be compensated with time off in lieu (TOIL) at a rate of time-and-a-half.


Vacation & Time Off

  • Full-time employees are entitled to 15 days of paid vacation and 5 paid personal days per year.
  • They are allotted evenly throughout the year, and pro-rated for partial years.
  • They cannot be accumulated for more than a year, so any vacation days accumulated past 15 are forfeited. Any personal days accumulated past 5 are forfeited.
  • Unused days can not be paid out for full-time employees.
  • Part-time employees receive vacation pay instead of vacation days at a rate proportional to full-time employees.
  • Vacation and personal days for all employees begin three months after start of employment.

Leave of Absence (proposed)

  • Staff can request additional time off as a Leave of Absence
  • LoA is unpaid

Requesting Vacation & Time Off

  • Time-off requests must be emailed to the fg-staff mailing list with as much notice as possible (preferably at least 2 weeks).
  • It is helpful to provide details about how you expect to have your responsibilities covered while you are gone.
  • If you do not provide enough advance notice, or if your responsibilities cannot be adequately covered by your colleagues, your request may not be granted.
  • It is unlikely that your request will be granted if there is already more than one staff person away that day.

Coverage during time off (proposed)

  • If a staff member is away for a long contiguous period, a contract worker can be hired to cover their duties
  • Paid the same hourly wage as current staff
  • Selected by the staff and directors
  • They are given a contract stating our expectations before the absence begins and at the end of their contract they will invoice Free Geek.


  • Employees who work at least 24 hours per week (3 full days) are eligible to be enrolled in the group plan after having worked for three months.
  • Booklets containing information about the group plan will be provided to employees once they are enrolled. Additional information about the group plan is available in a binder located in the main office. Questions about the group plan can be directed to the Plan Administrator (Chris Hooper, as of July 2010).



  • Sign in/out when you enter and leave the building. This includes breaks. Use the same sign-in sheets that volunteers use.
  • Employees should have a staff schedule and phone list available for things such as calling in late and other contact needs and emergencies.


Employees are encouraged to provide regular reports on their day-to-day activities to enlighten others of their perspective of Free Geek operations. This could be in the form of a daily diary which gets emailed to the staff mailing list periodically, or a report that is presented each month at a general meeting.


Purchasing procedures are not formalized right now. Please talk to Christine before doing any purchases.
  • Purchases must be approved by the Finance workgroup.
  • Any expenditure greater than $500 requires approval of the treasurer and one other director for budget compliance. This policy item was approved at the directors meeting of Feb. 23, 2012.
  • If you need cash up-front, you can use the Petty Cash procedure.
  • If you use your own money to make a purchase, you can fill out an Expense Claim to be reimbursed.
  • Never use money from the store, the donations, or any other source for purchases.

Special Expenses

The following items can typically be claimed as expenses if they are required for your job. Prior approval from Staff and Directors is required.

  • First-aid training
  • Steel-toed Boots ($100 maximum)


  • Protect staff privacy. Don't give out staff's personal email addresses, phone numbers, home address, health info or other personal data without their express permission.
  • Protect volunteer privacy. Don't give out volunteer or director information to anyone outside staff/directors (email addresses, health conditions, hours/days volunteered etc). Even if someone says they have the volunteer's permission, you need to verify this with the volunteer before proceeding.
  • You can always offer to pass on a message to the staff/individual in question on the other person's behalf.

Providing tech support

Everyone will ask you, all day every day. You in your infinite wisdom will know it is a slippery slope. Multiply them by 10 in your head and see your workload go down in flames. Saying yes to one person means treating everyone else unfairly. You will gently decline, and point them to Windowsless Wednesday, Ubuntu help forums, etc.

  • If it is not help that pertains to the volunteer's workstation, don't do it
  • If it is someone's personal project or computer, don't do it. And no, they can't use our workspace to do their own project during operating hours.


  • All staff are eligible for reviews after three months of employment.

Staff Discount

  • Staff receive a discount in the store at the same rate and on the same items as eligible volunteers under the Thrift Store Policy.