Your co-op's about to start and you can't wait! Finally you get a glimpse of the working world but a glimpse is all it will be. Most employers consider a co-op student's employment to be temporary. That means many students in a coop position won't receive the benefits, bonuses and advantages that their coworkers enjoy. Before beginning any co-op position, make sure you are aware of all of the conditions of employment including any benefits that will or won't be available.
Benefits for co-op students are at the employer's discretion. Some companies and organizations that participate in a co-op program allow students to experience the same benefits as other employees in similar positions but most co-op students will be considered a temporary employee. Sure it doesn't seem like a problem now, but consider the following case scenarios:
Case 1: You wake up, you're feeling awful and you think you'll just stay home. BUT, you're on a co-op placement, so that means calling in sick to your boss. No problem, you've heard about that before. Just one quick call and you're back under the covers.
As a co-op student though, you probably don't qualify for sick days or sick leave. So if you're receiving pay for your co-op position, this could mean less money at the end of the week. If you're not in a paying position, there are still some things that need to be worked out. Do you need to make up the time? There are strict rules companies have to abide by when it comes to employee working hours and if you have to come in to make up time on the weekend, a supervisor may need to come in as well. Now, you've just cost the company extra money. Even worse, if coworkers had to take on your workload while you were away, you may face a bit of backlash when you return.
Ultimately, your boss could also tell you that you're not entitled to sick days and you have to come in or it could mean losing the position altogether.
Tip: Doctor and dentist appointments should be scheduled to take place after your work hours. Medical offices are used to this type of request and should be able to work around it. Any appointments that were scheduled prior to your co-op position should be brought forward as soon as you have been accepted by an employer.
Case 2: Lucky you. Just after you start your coop term you get a day off for Thanksgiving—sweet. A day off with pay and you get to do nothing at all. BUT not all employees are entitled to statutory holidays. Did you know that companies only have to pay you for a statutory holiday if they have employed you for 30 calendar days before the holiday occurs? Anything under 30 days and it's just another regular workday for you at your regular pay rate, not time and a half. If you are participating in an unpaid co-op term, then you might