The Playground Playbook.

About this book

About Playground Inc. & this Playbook

Playground Inc. is many things. It is the space in which we work. It is us, this group of people working here. And it is a vision for how we as individuals can come together as a team to create something unique, something beyond the reach of any one person.

There is nothing accidental about any of this. We are intentional in the work that we do. We are intentional in who we do that work with. And we are intentional in how we do that work.

Our goal here at Playground Inc. is to create a space where we can be our best selves, where we can do our best work and where we can support each other in doing so. We want to nurture an empathetic, collaborative and inclusive office culture. And, with us being so very human, that takes work. Active and sustained work.

This document is intended as a guide. A reference in which to capture our vision of how we work together and a list of tools for how we, day-to-day, make that vision a reality. It is both a snapshot of our culture as well as a living document, one that will evolve with us as we grow ourselves, as individuals and as a team.

The contents of this Playbook are intended to both outline Playground’s current policies and processes and to describe how we conduct ourselves at Playground. This Playbook is not intended to create a contract or agreement between you and Playground Inc as our Playbook may change at any time as we evolve. From time to time, you may receive updated information regarding any changes in policy. We will communicate changes in writing and/or in team meetings.

If you have questions or concerns about the policies outlined here, please speak to people operations.

Section 1: Shared context

Our values

Empower people

Technology that makes a person larger is beautiful, technology that makes a person less is tragic. Make lives better, through what you make and how you make it. Trust people to do great work and let them do it. Build things that expand human potential and improve human lives.

Subvert everything

Nothing is forever, everything should be challenged, and rethought, and built differently next time. Everything in the world was created by people no smarter than you or I, in some cases much less smart, without the context of the repercussions of their actions. Don’t accept any existing entity or philosophy as permanent.

Be nice

While we want to reconfigure the stars to make tomorrow brighter, it’s important to acknowledge that how you make people feel matters, no matter what system you’re trying to upend. Every opportunity you have, try to see someone else’s opinion, don’t just treat people how you’d want to be treated, treat them how they want to be treated. It makes everyone’s day a little better and you’ll probably end up building better products because of it.

Make the web a better place.

Crafting products for the web demands more than just beautiful design or innovative technology, it demands a deep understanding of the problem in context and a real solution that impacts people’s lives. We craft platforms for people to connect, products with value, and experiences that delight.

Section 2: Code of Conduct

In reviewing this Playbook, never hesitate to ask questions if you don’t understand our policies—or if you think there are policies that are not being followed or should be reconsidered.  Your questions and ideas are what helps make meaning in what we do.

A Code of Conduct? Is this really necessary?

Our Code of Conduct isn’t meant to be a list of things you shouldn’t do. Sure, that’s part of it, but that’s because sometimes things go wrong. It makes sense to be prepared. Our goal here is to capture our values, to identify the ways we want to be working together and to provide tools for making that happen. If you are reading this and find yourself feeling defensive, slow down and ask yourself why.

Our approach

In order to live our values, to be our best selves and to do our best work we need to take the time and make the effort. We are a group of individuals and we are each unique, with different experiences, different perspectives and different needs. What has always worked for one person may have never worked for another. We need to find and practice what works for us.

Everyone deserves to feel good coming into work. Everyone deserves to feel safe, supported and heard.

There are workplaces that practice a ruthless culture. Those workplaces inevitably are dominated by a specific kind of personality. The “best” idea is the loudest idea. The “best” worker is the most aggressive. We don’t want that. We want to recognize that the best idea can come from anyone and that an idea in its infancy can be fragile. We don’t wish to stamp out that idea; we wish to support it and to help it grow. The best worker is the one who raises up their team. Alone, we can get something done. But together we can truly create.

Communication & collaboration

Intentionally or not, we are always communicating. In every word, action, tone, choice of language or whether we say or do anything at all. So let’s be deliberate. Let’s choose communication that is supportive and inclusive. Let’s spend at least as much time listening as we do speaking and let’s be honest in our words.

At the same time, we cannot assume that someone will know where we are coming from if we have not communicated with them. Express yourself and share your needs with others. If someone is expressing themselves to you or asking for something, don’t be dismissive. If you can’t be empathetic or helpful, point them to someone who can.

If you find yourself feeling frustrated or angry at a piece of feedback, take a moment to stop and truly consider what is being said. We are here to do good work and to work well with each other. We can afford to leave our egos at the door.

Some topics of discussion can be highly charged, perhaps more so to certain people over others. This does not mean there is no place for such discussion, but it does mean that you need to be considerate of others in how you have that conversation. If someone wishes to opt out of a conversation, it is on you to accommodate them.

The first rule of Playground Inc. is consent. We have consented to be here to work but that does not mean we have consented to aggression, “jokes” made at our expense, unwanted nicknames or banter, physical contact or anything else we may be uncomfortable with and have not explicitly consented to. If you are unsure whether you have someone’s consent, you need to ask and not assume.

Making jokes within earshot of someone you know (or even think) is upset by them is a violation of consent. Acting as though someone’s gender is other than what they say it is is also a violation of consent. Doing things that people feel shitty about is often a violation of consent. Doing them more than once is even more likely a violation of consent.

If you don’t want to, for example, be involved in a conversation, maybe you can say so, or maybe it’s hard. Maybe you can give some other indication that you don’t want to engage. On the one hand, if it’s hard to say so, maybe Playground Inc. could be a place to practice saying what’s real for you. Saying “no thanks”, etc. On the other hand, if your indications aren’t being heard, and this isn’t a time when you’re interested in being more direct, you can also ask for help from other folks. “They aren’t taking the hint. Will you help?”

No shaming

The other first rule of Playground Inc. is no shaming. Shaming is hard to define. So we don’t define it, we listen to each other. We work to learn how our behavior affects others. There is never a need to make someone feel bad about themselves. Here are some areas you may get the opportunity to learn about:

  • No racism

  • No smarter-than-thou or any other kind of elitism

  • No sexism

  • No harassing people

  • No ableism

  • No being mean about kids

  • No homophobia or transphobia

  • No fatphobia or body shaming

  • No negative comments (or unwanted comments) about someone’s dress or presentation

  • No (pro- or anti-) religious shaming

This is not an exhaustive list.

Traps & pitfalls

Here are some specific, hurtful things that have occurred at workplaces. We do not expect them to occur here at Playground Inc., but it’s important to talk about them so that we are on the same page. We also want to take positive action to prevent them. Just to be sure.

  • Someone talked about a particular skillset or technology as if it were inferior, and onlookers who work in that domain felt shitty.

  • Someone catcalled or made a sexualized comment about a visitor to the office space.

  • Someone overheard someone else “playing a character” based on racialized stereotypes.

  • Someone shamed someone else for caring about social issues or social justice.

  • Someone proceeded to give someone else an uninvited shoulder rub.

  • Someone started loudly talking about their sex life in the open office space.

  • Someone intentionally damaged or defaced someone else’s work or property.

This is not an exhaustive list.

When someone’s hurting

When someone’s hurting, there is a problem. There is no such thing as “overreacting”. There is hurting, and there is empathy.

Empathy is our preference

When something’s happened and someone is hurting, our first choice is to work through it. If an officemate’s actions result in someone feeling unsafe, Playground Inc. will take the situation seriously.

But empathy isn’t the only option

Sometimes, one or both parties are either uninterested or unable to work through the problem. Sometimes, to do so might take more time than we have. To not understand why something is hurtful is okay, as long as you listen, respect and approach it with care and curiosity. Repeating hurtful behavior is not allowed, and that will result in removal from the space.

If, in the view of Playground Inc., someone is not able to follow the office rules, they will be asked to work with people operations and their manager (if applicable) to try and resolve the issue(s). It will be the responsibility of the person who has broken the rules to take corrective measures. The person(s) that may have been hurt by their actions may choose not to get involved in the resolution process. If the behaviour continues after attempts at resolution, and Playground Inc. deems it necessary, it may result in that person being asked to leave.

What to do if you experience something you aren’t okay with

  • You have the option of trying to speak with the person who is giving you trouble.

  • If you want to, you may ask people operations for support for this conversation.

  • If you don’t want to be involved directly in such a conversation, you may speak with people operations who can address the situation on your behalf.

Contributing

To a culture of empathy

If someone “calls you out”, pause for a moment and take the time to hear the feedback. Listen for their experience, the feelings coming up. Consider how those emotions feel to you; notice what you have in common. Accept that something you did brought those feelings up for that person. That doesn’t mean you decide you are bad, or you were “wrong”—it means that you notice what happened, and accept it. Receive the feedback, and whatever clarifications they’re happy to provide, and then in private, mull them over. Ask friends questions, and decide for yourself what resonates with you and what doesn’t, and what actions you want to take in response.

If you see something that seems off or scary, ask how folks are doing, or approach people operations for help. We will not blow you off. We will be grateful.

To this Code of Conduct

This is a living document and what you are reading is a representation of where we were at the time of writing. Our intention here is for growth and collaboration. If you notice an omission or an opportunity for clarification, please do reach out to people operations. If something is unclear or you do not understand the importance or relevance of something, again, please do reach out. We are all here to learn and to grow, as individuals and as a team.

Confidentiality

We know that in the course of our work we come across a lot of confidential information, either about Playground or our clients. We trust our team members to guard the information you have access to both during your time with Playground and for a two year period following your departure from the Company and that you will not disclose any restricted or confidential information. Confidential information includes but is not limited to: any Company proprietary information, project or client information, technical data, trade secrets or know-how, including, but not limited to, research, product plans, products, services, customer lists, markets, software, developments, inventions, processes, formulas, technology, designs, drawings, engineering, hardware configuration information, marketing, finances, internal documents or other business information or any other information deemed confidential by Playground. If you are in doubt about whether specific information can or cannot be disclosed, contact your project lead or Manager.

Please refer to our NDA for Playground’s full policy.

Conflict of interest & freelance/side projects

All team members at Playground are expected to adhere to the highest standards of personal and professional integrity and shall protect the interests of Playground Inc. Please ensure that your personal and professional conduct and activities do not, in any way, detract from or conflict with your responsibilities to Playground, your team members and colleagues and our clients. This includes any potential for personal gain. If you are working on freelance or personal projects, please respect the trust and partnership between Playground and our clients by ensuring that time at work is spent working on our client projects while freelance or side projects are done outside of working hours on your own time.

Section 3: Playground Life

Commitment to accessibility

We are committed to ensuring a barrier-free, accessible and inclusive work environment, as outlined under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). We will accommodate team members with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship. If you require any specific accommodation because of a disability or a medical need either before you join us or after you’ve come on board, please let us know and we will support you.

Work life

When

Our standard hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. We recognize that everyone is a little different so we know that staying flexible is important. You can start your day anytime from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. If, on the odd occasion, you need to start later than 10:00 am, clear it with your Manager ahead of time and let your colleagues know in advance so they can work with your schedule on that day.

We also have weekly standup meetings Mondays at 10:30 am and many projects have daily standup meetings. Please make sure you are available to attend these either in person or remotely and be on the lookout in case times change.

Where

Our work space provides team members with ways to do great things, hang out, get to know each other, collaborate, meet clients and create and share memorable experiences together.

Client focus

We expect that our colleagues and clients will feel supported and that we care. When you receive any kind of communication, either internal or external, please respond within 2 business days at the longest. Make sure that you evaluate the urgency of the exchange and based on your assessment, please respond at the first available opportunity within the 48 hour time-frame. If you need guidance in this area, please speak with your Manager.

What do people wear

We do not have a formal dress code. We are inclusive and invite you to bring your own unique style to work, whether it reflects your personal taste, culture or customs. Our only request is that you tailor your dress appropriately for client meetings. If in doubt, ask your Manager for guidance.

Feeding the rumour mill

No workplace is ever completely free of issues or opportunities to improve. If something is bothering you, don’t complain about it or feed the rumour mill with colleagues. Speak to your Manager and help own our environment: identify the issue(s) and come with a solution or two. If that doesn’t help solve the problem, speak with people operations directly.

Pay cycle & increases

Playground currently pays employees semi-monthly. Direct deposit payments are made on the 15th and the last day of each month. Where either of those days falls on a weekend, employees are paid on the preceding Friday.

In addition, we review employee compensation on an annual basis.

Here’s how we review your performance.

Benefits

Your health and well-being is important to us. We have a comprehensive plan for team members who have been employed at Playground for three continuous months. Please see our benefits booklet for eligibility and full plan details.

Learning & development

We love learning and the pursuit of improving our knowledge, skills and abilities. We actively encourage our team to seek opportunities to realize this. So you’ve identified an awesome conference or an amazing, after hours if possible, course that you want to take but are looking for help to make it happen. Great! So what’s next? Every team member at Playground gets up to $500.00 per calendar year to invest in individual development. To find out more about opportunities, develop your plan, get approval and make it happen, speak to your manager and people operations. We expect you to take these opportunities seriously. Where possible, we’d love for you to bring back your insights and learnings, whether that’s in the form of a lunch-and-learn, Slack conversation, blog post or whatever is appropriate and effective.

Learning and development comes in many shapes and sizes—some opportunities, such as presenting at a conference or a specialized course, may fall outside of the above guideline and budget. If that is the case, or if you are unsure how to classify an opportunity, speak with your Manager for guidance and to see what we can do.

Health & wellness

Health and wellness are about the body, mind and the soul. At Playground, we believe you need to take care of all three. In addition to things like massages that are covered through our benefits plan, we encourage you to take time off, do something physical, eat well and get lots of sleep.

Telephone, IT & computer use

We only have a few things to say here:

  • Set up a password for your laptop to make sure information is protected

  • Set up your 1password account for secure password management

  • Don’t save Playground or client passwords in your browser

  • Change your password from time to time

  • Limit personal use of Playground equipment during business hours

  • Respect your equipment: try not to spill, drop, lose or damage it. Having to replace one piece of equipment is on us. The second, may be on you.

  • Speak up if you need additional equipment – our list can be found here.

Expense reimbursement

We will reimburse you for all reasonable expenses associated with client meetings, client development/relationship management or just getting your work done. If you need a sketchbook, Sketch license, proprietary plugin or an account with a cloud-based service provider, we’ve got you covered. For expenses other than those that are transportation related, please make sure to get prior approval from your Manager.

Inclement weather

It’s January and it’s snowing! Yup—welcome to winter in Canada. By now we are all used to snow, rain, sleet and generally yucky winter weather which means we also know how to navigate it and like the old motto of the post office, we still come to work. Under extraordinary circumstances, our climate may dictate that we have to close the office for health and safety reasons. If we close, we will communicate with everyone via Slack to let you know and otherwise, we expect to see you at the office.

Office cleanliness

Our office is both our work and play space and it is everyone’s responsibility to keep it clean. This means we respect each other enough to do our own dishes, empty the dishwasher, clean up our crumbs and call each other out if we aren’t doing our part.

Working Remotely

As a human design company, we believe there is no substitute for face to face communication. Building ideas and products as a team and riffing off one another is one of the pillars for our growth and understanding of each other.

If needed, Playground supports working remotely from the office one day a week. Provided the day is approved by your manager, communicated to your team and enabled by your meeting requirements. At least one day before, confirm with your manager and team that you will be able to join any meetings and deliver your work as if you were in the office. As well, mark your time as WFH in Humi. While working remotely, you are expected to be online via Slack and other tools as if you were in the office.

You are responsible for your output during the day. Check-in with the team at regular intervals throughout the day (think 9:00am, 1:00pm and 5:00pm) over Slack. As well, you are expected to take part in all meetings that you are a member of.

You are responsible for ensuring the same contribution and communication level to your team. Should your work be unclear, it is your responsibility to check in with the team or your manager on what to work on.

Should you need to work remotely an extra day per week, please speak to your manager. In the event that you will not be available for a part of the day, please mark that time as “Personal”.

Working remotely becomes available once you have passed your probation period.

Life away from work

Vacation

Everyone needs time to do cool things, relax, re-energize or deal with life matters that come up. And that means taking reasonable planned time off. Each calendar year, we will support you with paid vacation to make this happen. These days have to be used within the calendar year and cannot be carried over or banked into the New Year. Typically we approve vacation for up to two weeks at a time but if you can’t quite fit that trip around the world into 10 days, or if you need additional time beyond your annual entitlement for that special something, speak to your Manager to see what can be done.

Vacation entitlements

Years at Playground Annual entitlement Accrual per month
0 - 2 15 days 1.25 days
3 - 5 20 days 1.66 days
5+ 25 days 2.08 days

New to Playground?

New team members at Playground are also eligible to take vacation during their first year. Vacation entitlement in year one is prorated based on start date, with the employee accruing 1.25 days of vacation per month from the start date to the end of the calendar year. Vacation entitlements reset in January of each year.

How to book time off

  • Log on to Playground’s HR software (humi.ca) and put in your time-off request

  • Try to give as much advance notice as possible, especially for longer time-off requests

  • Check to see who else is already on vacation and make sure there is enough project coverage

  • Provided we have enough coverage and advance notice, we should be able to plan around most requests

  • Make sure you get approval before you book anything

Statutory holidays & end-of-year closing

Playground Inc. observes the following Statutory and Civic holidays:

  • New Year’s Day

  • Family Day

  • Good Friday

  • Victoria Day

  • Canada Day

  • Civic Holiday

  • Labour Day

  • Thanksgiving Monday

  • Christmas Day

  • Boxing Day

The list above comes to us from federal and provincial regulations and, if we’re going to be honest, is limited in scope. We recognize and respect that we come from diverse backgrounds and celebrate holidays and other important days that are not listed. If you observe a holiday that isn’t listed, talk to us.

Playground also closes with pay for the 3 business days between Christmas and New Year’s.

Health & Personal Days

Feeling sick? Need a break? Have a personal matter or appointment to attend to? No problem. We support you with up to 10 paid days per calendar year for situations just like these.

We’ve broken these 10 days into two broad categories:

  • Health Days

  • Personal Days

Unlike vacation days, these days can be either planned or unplanned and can be used for things like taking care of your health, move days, medical appointments, funerals, just you time and a whole host of other reasons. These days are yours to use as and if you need them throughout the year. They cannot be carried over into the New Year and any unused days will not be paid out at the end of the year. In January of each year, the number of days available to you resets to 10. For new team members, the number of Health and Personal Days is prorated from the start date to December 31 of the first year. If for some reason, and under special circumstances, you need more time off, talk to your Manager to see what can be done.

What are Health Days?

If you’re feeling just a little bit germy, we encourage you to work from home until your sneezes, coughs, or other general sick symptoms go away. We like to share, but we’re not interested in sharing your flu or cold. Please don’t inflict it on us.

Of course, when you’re sick you’re sick. If you need to take time to rest and heal, please do. Book a health day and do what you need to do. We want you to be healthy and taking good care of yourself.

Sometimes, we all just need a break. Taking care of our mental health is as important as attending to our physical health. If you need some time, make sure to take it so that you can come back refreshed and focused.

If you need more than 3 consecutive days off for health reasons, we may ask you to get a doctor’s note.

What are Personal Days?

Working together is all about give and take: if you need to take some time off, think about how you can make it up to your team later on. Maybe you need to take the morning off but can spare a couple of extra hours at night to make sure you’re not falling behind.

But, like, maybe you just need the whole day. We get it. Personal Days may be used for any number of reasons including moving, attending a funeral (of someone other than a loved one, chosen family member or a close connection), medical appointments, staying home with a sick family member or taking them to an appointment and other personal reasons. Where personal days can be planned in advance, we appreciate as much notice as possible to ensure appropriate coverage.

So what next?

  • Give your team a heads up if you’re not coming in

  • If you’re taking the day or a part of the day, please book it off in our HR software, humi.ca under either Health Day or Personal Day

  • If you are sick, post your sick status in the #where-am-i Slack channel so we know where you are and can send you messages of “get well” and good cheer

Bereavement

We understand that the loss of a loved one or close connection is a sad and hard time for people. We will provide team members with up to five (5) paid days off for bereavement leave or to attend the funeral of a loved one, family member or a close connection. If you find yourself in this situation, speak with your Manager, let them know the situation and work with them to determine the number of days you will need to take off. If you need additional time off, please speak with your Manager to arrange it.

Jury duty

If you are called for jury duty or any other court-related duty, please present your summons to your Manager. Playground will support you with up to a maximum of five (5) days of paid time off for you to fulfill your initial obligations. Often, people aren’t picked for jury duty and are able to return to work within the week or at the end of it. If you are picked, you will likely receive compensation for this duty, so please present any documentation to your Manager and it will be recorded as a temporary payroll adjustment.

Voting

Get out there and vote! Polls are generally open between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. but if you need extra time to get there or just want to go during the day, we encourage you to do what works best for you and flex your work schedule accordingly.

Pregnancy & Parental Leave

Omg! Congratulations!! This is an exciting time and probably maybe also a little stressful. We want to help ease the transition for you so in addition to legislated coverage, here’s what you need to know:

Definitions

Pregnancy leave applies to pregnant employees who are absent from work before or after the birth of a child. Pregnancy leave is generally approved leave for a maximum of seventeen (17) weeks.

Parental leave applies to new parents who require leave when a baby or child is born or first comes into their care. Birth parents who take pregnancy leave are entitled to up to thirty five (35) weeks leave. Birth parents who do not take pregnancy leave and all other new parents are entitled to up to thirty seven (37) weeks parental leave.

Parental leave is not part of pregnancy leave and so a birth parent may take both pregnancy and parental leave. In addition, the right to a parental leave is independent of the right to pregnancy leave.

Pregnancy & Parental Leave

  • Full salary continuance for a period of four weeks (20 business days) starting the day the leave begins

  • 2 week salary lump sum baby bonus at the end of the salary continuance period

At the start of your leave, you will retain any unused but accrued vacation days and you will also continue to accrue vacation days throughout your leave.

For team members enrolled in our group benefits plan, your coverage continues throughout your leave. Playground will continue to cover costs with the exception of long-term disability which is employee paid and normally deducted automatically from each pay. To retain this coverage, you will have to provide us with post-dated cheques or some form of payment to cover the period of your leave.

So what next—before, during and after?

Before:

  • As soon as you are comfortable sharing your news, let us know

  • Decide how long a leave you will be taking and talk to us – we can help you navigate your options

  • Tell us, in writing, your last expected day of work before your leave begins

  • Become familiar with the forms you will need to fill in – these include EI (we will help you with that) and eventual benefits enrollment

During:

  • Provide us with payment for continuation of your long-term disability benefit

  • Enroll your child in our benefits plan

  • Apply for Employment Insurance (EI) – the waiting period can be up to one month so you will want to do this as soon as possible

  • Feel free to bring home and use your computer and any other equipment during your leave. Not because we want you to be working (we don’t!) but because you’ll probably want them during the EI application process, to communicate with us as necessary, etc.

  • If you have decided (or decide at some point during your leave) that you want to work some hours from home during the legislated leave period, let us know when you’d want to start and we will do our best to help with that

  • Raise those babies!

After:

  • Welcome back! Your leave may be over, but we’re still here to support you. Talk to us about how we can accommodate you with things like bringing your kid to work, feeding, etc. We’re here for you.

  • You’ve accrued vacation time while you’ve been gone so talk to us about how you might want to use it.

Other types of leave

Sometimes life happens and team members need extended time away from work. We’ve identified a couple of examples that may be relevant and we will do our best to support you with the time you need. For a full list of leaves, please visit the Ministry of Labour’s website. Depending on the type of leave, items such as qualifying periods, job retention at the end of the leave, continuation of benefits, retained seniority, and vacation accrual may vary. It is important to note that many leaves require medical documentation to be supported. If you have any questions or if something isn’t referenced here, please speak with your Manager.

Unpaid leaves of absence

Team members are eligible to apply for an unpaid leave of absence if they have been a regular team member with Playground for at least one year. We look at each request on a case by case basis and make decisions based on the reason for the request, previous record and leave requests and the impact the absence will have on Playground. If we are able to support you with an unpaid leave of absence, it will begin after you have exhausted all of your vacation time and health and personal days.

Short-term disability

Sometimes the unexpected happens. If you are in a situation where you need to think about going on a short-term disability leave, we know that you will have a lot going on and we are here to support you. If you need to go on leave, your first course of action is to provide us with medical documentation to support the leave and be sure to include the estimated length of time you will be away. We will do our best to minimize any interruptions to your pay. The first step is to use up all your accrued and unused vacation time and health and personal days. If this still isn’t enough, we will then provide you with full salary continuance for a period of four weeks (20 business days). If you still need more time and to bridge the remaining period until long-term disability is an option, you can apply for Employment Insurance and we can help you navigate that system. Before returning to work, you will need to have your Doctor complete a Functional Abilities Form (FAF) so that we can make reasonable accommodations if required and support you in a successful return to work.

Long-term disability

Long-term disability (LTD) coverage is available for eligible team members through Playground’s benefit plan. Employees can apply for long-term disability once they have satisfied the 4-month waiting period of being unable to return to work. Our benefits provider will assess the application and render an opinion as to whether the employee’s illness qualifies for long-term disability. During any approved long-term disability leave, Playground will continue to make the employer contributions or premium payments to cover benefits, while the employee remains responsible for any LTD benefit premiums. During a long-term disability leave, vacation does not continue to accrue for employees. For further details, refer to Playground’s Benefit Summary Booklet.

Government-supported leaves

If you find that a close family member is ill, we understand that you may not be able to come to work and perform. Under certain circumstances, government programs may exist to support people who need a family medical leave. Please refer to appropriate legislation or your people Manager should you require support in this area.

Absences without approval or documentation

At Playground we will support you as best we can with leaves of absence, vacation and health and personal days. But this is a two-way street and it is your responsibility to get in touch with your Manager immediately by phone, Slack or email to report any illness or unforeseen circumstance that requires you to be absent. If you don’t let us know and we don’t hear from you, we will be worried and it may lead to a written warning. If we still haven’t heard from you for 3 days, we will assume that you have voluntarily resigned your position with Playground and we will miss you.

Process

In all cases, please speak with your Manager and get approval before taking the time. Let everyone know where you are on #where-am-i. If it is an emergency or you wish to keep the matter private, connect with your Manager and they can take care of letting the team know. Where you can, please give us as much notice as possible and plan to provide medical documentation if asked. If you are the individual needing the leave for medical reasons, we may ask you to complete a functional abilities form before clearing you to come back to the office.

Leaving Playground

If you decide to leave us, make sure to give, at minimum, the amount of notice specified in your employment agreement. Provide your notice in writing and include the date of your last day at Playground.

Section 4: Legislation

Workplace violence, harassment & sexual harassment prevention

We are committed to building and maintaining a safe, productive, healthy and respectful work environment. Managers and all employees, including temporary workers and contractors, are expected to uphold this policy.

We will not tolerate or condone behaviour that is contrary to the Human Rights Code or other Canadian provincial and federal legislation, and that entails any practices or methods of harassment, intimidation or other behaviour not in line with the principles of our working environment. We will not tolerate any form of harassment by or against anyone associated with Playground Inc. anywhere in or out of the workplace. All reported cases of harassment will be investigated and, if there is found to be an offending party, disciplinary action will be taken, up to and including termination of employment.

A summary and some of our examples are included here. Our full policy can be found here.

Harassment

We are committed to providing a safe and respectful environment for all team members. No one, whether a people manager, a team member, a client or member of the public, has to tolerate harassment at Playground for any reason, at any time.

Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comments or conduct against a person in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. No one has the right to harass anyone else, at work or in any situation related to employment. Human Rights law prohibits harassment or discrimination in employment because of gender, gender expression, race, ancestry and place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, citizenship, creed, handicap, age and marital status, receipt of public assistance or record of offences. Personal harassment, such as workplace bullying is included under this definition as well. It also prohibits unwelcome sexual solicitations or advances, and reprisals because a sexual advance has been refused.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined by the OHRC as “a course of comment or conduct based on an individual’s sex or gender that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” In the area of sexual harassment, conduct such as, but not limited to sexual assault, verbal abuse, threats, unwelcome sexual invitations or requests, demands for sexual favours, unwelcome or repeated innuendoes or taunting about a person’s body appearance, sexual orientation or identity constitutes harassment. Inappropriate, unwelcome, repeated innuendos or taunting about a person’s gender or deliberate misgendering may be considered sexual harassment depending on the context and facts. Those found to be engaging in such activity, either seriously or in jest may subject themselves to criminal prosecution, and/or employer-based discipline up to and including immediate dismissal.

Regardless of whether or not a person clearly objects to harassing behavior, or if they appear to go along with it, it could still be considered harassment.

Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Epithets, remarks, jokes or innuendos related to an individual’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, creed, age, or any other ground

  • Showing or circulating offensive pictures, graffiti or materials, whether in print form or using e-mail or other electronic means

  • Singling out an individual for humiliating or demeaning “teasing” or jokes because they are a member of a protected group

  • Comments ridiculing an individual because of characteristics, dress, etc. that are related to a ground of discrimination.

Examples of workplace harassment would not include:

  • Employee to employee personal disagreements, unless there is interference with an employee’s ability to perform their job duties, employment status or either party engages in inappropriate conduct or either party feels threatened

  • Performance management discussions where a Manager must bring competent behaviour or performance to the attention of an employee.

Bullying & cyberbullying

Bullying is generally seen as acts or verbal comments that could hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Sometimes bullying can involve negative physical contact. Bullying involves repeated, persistent, continuous incidents or patterns of behavior that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people.

Cyberbullying meets the same criteria, however, the method of delivery is via electronic media.

Examples of bullying include, but are not limited to:

  • Social isolation, gossiping, silent treatment or participating in the spread of workplace rumours

  • Personal attacks on an individual’s private life or attributes

  • Excessive or unjustified criticism or verbal aggression

Examples of bullying would not include:

  • Normal workplace conflict

  • Tough management styles or discussions around underperformance/need to improve

Violence in the workplace

We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to acts or threats of violence in the workplace. All team members have the right to work in an environment free from behavior that creates a climate of violence, hostility or intimidation. Proactive measures will be taken to minimize the potential for violent acts. Any act or threat of violence will result in an immediate and serious response that could include termination of employment.

Workplace violence

Workplace violence includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Violent or threatening physical contact (including physical intimidation)

  • Direct or indirect threats

  • Possession of a weapon on company property

  • Destructive actions against the company, team members or their property

  • Threatening acts or abusive language that leads to tension within the work environment

  • Domestic violence that may pose a hazard to team member well-being at work

Domestic violence

A person who has a personal relationship with a worker—such as a spouse or former spouse, current or former intimate partner or a family member—may physically harm, or attempt or threaten to physically harm, that worker at work. In these situations, domestic violence is considered workplace violence. 

Responsibility

All team members have the responsibility to treat each other with respect and to speak up if they are, or someone else is, a victim of workplace violence, harassment or bullying. Team members must report any incident to their direct Manager, and people operations immediately and respect the confidentiality of anyone involved in a workplace violence incident.

All Managers are responsible for fostering a culture of and respect and for ensuring our workplace is free of harassment and violence. Managers must set an example for appropriate workplace behavior and must take immediate action if they become aware of situations of harassment or violence whether or not there has been a complaint. They will act immediately in accordance with company policy when made aware of workplace harassment or violence. Depending on the severity of the issue, this may require taking disciplinary action or notifying the proper authorities.

Action

If any team member feels that they are being harassed, you have the option of trying to speak with the person who is harassing you directly. You can also ask people operations for support on how to approach the discussion. If the team member finds this to be too uncomfortable, they should speak with their Manager or with people operations who can address the situation on your behalf. Alternatively, the team member can address the issue with any partner with whom they feel comfortable.

Any person who makes substantial threats, exhibits threatening behavior, or engages in violent acts on company property or during a company event, shall be removed from the premises as quickly as safety permits and shall remain off premises pending the outcome of an investigation.

Anyone—team member, client or manager—who is found (after investigation) to be engaging in any form of harassment or violence, will be subject to discipline up to, and including discharge, subject to the severity of the offense. Any team member who knowingly makes a false complaint or provides false information about a complaint will be found in violation of this policy.

Violation of this policy may include, but is not limited to, termination of employment and/or criminal prosecution of the individuals involved. The ultimate goal is to safeguard team members at all times and proactively prevent violence.

For our full policy and for guidelines around reporting and action please refer to our Workplace Anti-violence, Harassment, and Sexual Harassment Policy located here.

Health & safety

We take your safety seriously. We recognize that all team members have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, consistent with all applicable legislation.

The leadership team promises to take every reasonable precaution in all circumstances in order to safeguard team members. No job is to be regarded as so urgent that time cannot be taken to do it in a safe manner—the welfare of team members is our greatest concern. Through effective education, training and consistent review of procedures, we are committed to maintaining a safe workplace.

Communication

At Playground we encourage open communication on health and safety issues. It is essential to providing an injury-free and productive work environment.

  • Employees that voice or identify a health and safety concern will not be subject to retaliation.

  • Health and safety comments will be reviewed by people operations. People operations will initiate an investigation on each reported and/or potential hazard.

  • Employees are encouraged to inform their Managers of any matter they perceive to be an actual or potential workplace hazard.

  • Communication can be written or oral, and may be anonymous, if so desired.

Responsibility

All team members must protect their own and each other’s health and safety by working in accordance with all applicable legislation and safe work practices established by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. Promoting and maintaining a safe workplace is everyone’s responsibility.

Managers are responsible for the health and safety of employees or workers under their supervision. They will ensure that equipment required for team member’s use is safe and that each team member works in compliance with established safe work practices and procedures. Depending on our size, we will ensure that at least 1 or 2 members of the Joint Health and Safety Committee are certified by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Action

Any team member who encounters a potential workplace hazard must immediately report it to their direct manager, Samaneh or the Joint Health and Safety Committee. Disregard or violation of this Policy by team members at any level may be considered cause for disciplinary action, including termination.

A safe work environment can be established and maintained only through a united effort by all, from the most senior person to newest team member. Your attitude and cooperation in promoting accident prevention will help us maintain a safe workplace and an environment where team members are partners in Playground’s growth and success.

Closing Remarks

At Playground, our standards are simple: we work together, ask for help when we need it and come with solutions to issues. If we have concerns or challenges, we try to work them out. We’re a team and we work together as a team. We show leadership and all have a role in making this a great place to work.

This is a living document and what you are reading is a representation of where we were at the time of writing. Our intention here is for growth and collaboration. If you notice an omission or an opportunity for clarification, please speak to people operations. If something is unclear or you do not understand the importance or relevance of something, again, please do reach out. We are all here to learn and to grow, as individuals and as a team. If you are uncomfortable reaching out directly, we have a form where you can submit anonymous feedback.

❤︎

Last Updated: January 2020