Covid is still here, what happens if I get sick?

As we head into the fall, with many of our members returning to the workplace – either more frequently, or for the first time, within the new Hybrid working arrangements being developed by departments, we are still frequently receiving questions around leave, particularly 699 Leave, as it relates to Covid.

First and foremost, we encourage members to take whatever steps they feel comfortable with to help protect themselves and others, above and beyond those mandated by the employer.  Vaccine boosters, masks, physical distancing, and frequent hand washing continue to be tools available.

If you are sick, STAY HOME!

If you are experiencing symptoms which might be Covid, alert your manager, and arrange for testing.  You should be eligible for 699 Leave while awaiting your test results.

If you test positive for COVID…

And you feel well enough to do work (asymptomatic or minor symptoms)

Ask to work from home.

If the nature of your work (ie: FOS, Trades, etc…) does not allow for telework, or you do not have the proper equipment to do your work from home, you should be entitled to 699 leave.

And you are sick

You take sick leave, same as you would with a flu or other illness.

What if my child’s school gets closed, or my elderly parent’s caregiver is suddenly unavailable due to Covid?

If you have caretaking responsibilities for family members in your home, and their normal care is suddenly unavailable due to Covid or a Public Health-mandated closure, you should:

  1. Make all reasonable efforts to find alternate care
  2. If you cannot find alternate care, speak to your manager about telework, flexible hours, or modified hours.
  3. If no such arrangements are possible, you should be entitled to 699 leave.

This says I should be eligible for 699, but my manager says I have to take sick leave, annual leave, or family-related leave.  What do I do?

  1. Get the demand from your manager in writing, along with an official denial of your requested 699 leave
  2. Keep copies of all documents you submitted
  3. Contact your USJE Local or your RVP for assistance to address the issue, and potentially file a grievance
  4. Take the leave your manager suggests, to avoid interruptions to your pay – it is much simpler to have leave re-credited to your bank than deal with stopping and re-starting pay, given the issues with Phoenix.

I previously was told I had to use all my sick/annual/family-related leave before I could be granted 699.  I still haven’t had any of it returned after the PSAC Policy Grievance was upheld in March.

We are aware and are working with PSAC and the Departments to get this issue corrected.  Treasury Board is being difficult about implementing the decision.

If you used other leave for Covid-related purposes, and you have not filed an individual grievance yet, we suggest you re-submit your request to your manager to have your sick/annual/family-related leave converted to 699 as per the FPSLREB decision, include all documentation around your initial request and the employer’s requirement to use other leave, and if your request to convert is denied, contact your Local or RVP right away to file a grievance within 25 working days.