Correctional Service’s National Attendance Program Discriminates against Workers, says Employees’ Union

Ottawa: Representatives from the Union of Solicitor General Employees and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) are in Calgary for a week-long hearing on the legalities of the Correctional Service Canada’s National Attendance Management Program. 

The Union of Solicitor General Employees (USGE) is asserting that CSC’s Attendance Management Program is arbitrary, discriminatory and violates the collective agreement. This is particularly the case for those Correctional employees who required family and bereavement leave, as well as those employees with a disability. 

“Our findings indicate that the National Attendance Management Plan was an ill-conceived and blunt instrument with a clearly discriminatory effect,” said Stan Stapleton, USGE’s National President. 

Adopted in 2011 by CSC, the National Attendance Management Program (NAMP) was intended to boost employee attendance by giving managers the right to compare the amount of leave a person was taking throughout the year against an average provided by the department, also known as a threshold. Managers would then meet with a CSC employee who was nearing the threshold to discuss his/her attendance record, even when employees had not come close to using the maximum number of days of leave to which they were entitled. Subsequently, a letter was put on the employee’s file. 

Threshold calculations included all approved sick leave, bereavement leave, annual leave, family leave as well as leave taken while on long-term disability. 

“To penalize workers who have legitimately taken leave for family, holiday or medical reasons, with a letter on their file – as NAMP requires managers to do – is totally unacceptable, “ underscored Stapleton. 

USGE is also asserting that the application of NAMP has been incoherent in the context of existing practices and the Collective Agreement governing CSC employees. Further, managers were not properly trained in applying the policy and therefore implemented it inconsistently.

While a decision is not expected for a couple of months, PSAC and USGE are pleased to have the opportunity this week to make their case to the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board. The Canadian Human Rights Commission is also expected to observe the proceedings and may intervene as the policy is being challenged as discriminatory on the grounds of disability and family status.