Tag Archives: grievance

6990 Leave and Family-Related Responsibilities

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CBSA is using the 6990 leave code to cover employees who are unable to work for various COVID-related reasons including the closure of schools and daycares (Note: “Other Leave with Pay” is coded as 699 within the core Treasury Board units).

Where telework is available, parents with young children at home have not been expected to put in the same number of working hours as members who do not have childcare responsibilities. Some parents have been putting in a few hours a day and some haven’t been working at all. Generally speaking, the availability of 6990 to cover non-working hours has been assessed on a case-by-case basis and, for the most part, our members haven’t had too many problems accessing this leave with pay.

In May, some provinces and territories began to talk about re-opening schools and daycares. The decision on what, when and how to reopen has varied widely across the country. Some provinces have chosen to not to reopen until the Fall, while others have limited childcare spaces to parents who work in essential services. Even where schools have reopened, many parents have chosen not to send their children back because of safety concerns.

On May 10, 2020 Treasury Board sent an email to all of its Heads of Human Resources regarding 699 leave and childcare. It contained the following:

As schools and daycares are re-opened, we expect that employees who could not work due to childcare obligations will be able to return to work. We recognize, however, that there will be some instances where employees may be unable to work their full hours if their children are unable to return to school or daycare due to health reasons, limited availability of spaces or other restrictions put in place by provincial or territorial authorities. In these cases, employees may use ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ for hours not worked, if they are unable to make alternate childcare arrangements.

The email goes on to encourage managers to “have a conversation” with employees on 699 about the possibility of taking on flexible working arrangements as an alternative to staying on leave.

Policy Grievance

On 13 May 2020, the PSAC filed a policy grievance regarding the employer’s email. The union is concerned that parents who choose not to return their children to school or daycare will be involuntarily taken off the 699 leave with pay. Some children live in households with vulnerable family members, and many parents do not feel comfortable sending their children back to school or daycare with inadequate social distancing measures in place. Whatever the reason, we need to ensure that members with childcare obligations are not forced to choose between a pay cheque and the wellbeing of their families.

We expect to receive the employer’s final level reply on this policy grievance within the next few weeks.

Individual Grievances

In the event that we are unsuccessful in resolving the problem with a policy grievance, we need to be prepared to file individual grievances for any members who are forced off 6990 but still have childcare responsibilities. These are members who:

  • Currently care for children at home
  • Are currently on 6990 Leave with Pay
  • Live in a province/territory where childcare facilities have not reopened OR cannot get a childcare space due to limited reopening OR have safety concerns for their children or other vulnerable family members
  • Have been advised by the employer that they are no longer eligible for 6990 Leave with Pay

The grievance language is as follows:

Details:

I grieve the Employer’s refusal to grant me “6990 leave” with pay, requested on [insert request date] and denied on [insert refusal date], when I was unable to work regular hours due to childcare responsibilities related to COVID-19.

(If you are under the Program and Administrative Services (PA) collective agreement, insert:)

This is a violation of Article 53.01 – leave with or without pay for other reasons and Article 19 – no discrimination of the collective agreement; section 7 of the Canadian Human Rights Act; and all other relevant articles.

(If you are under the Border Services (FB) collective agreement, insert:)

This is a violation of Article 52.01 – leave with or without pay for other reasons and Article 19 – no discrimination of the collective agreement; section 7 of the Canadian Human Rights Act; and all other relevant articles.

(If you are under the Operational Services (SV) collective agreement, insert:)

This is a violation of Article 56.01 – leave with or without pay for other reasons and Article 19 – no discrimination of the collective agreement; section 7 of the Canadian Human Rights Act; and all other relevant articles.

(If you are under the Technical Services (TC) collective agreement, insert:)

This is a violation of Article 55.01 – leave with or without pay for other reasons and Article 19 – no discrimination of the collective agreement; section 7 of the Canadian Human Rights Act; and all other relevant articles.

Corrective Action Requested:

A declaration that the Employer has breached the collective agreement;

That I be granted leave with pay when I am unable to work regular hours due to childcare responsibilities related to COVID-19;

That I be compensated for all losses, including lost wages and benefits, that resulted from the Employer’s refusal to grant me paid leave;

That the Employer ceases this discriminatory refusal and take measures to redress the practice and/or to prevent the same or similar refusal from occurring in the future;

That the Employer makes available to me the rights, opportunities, and privileges that are being or were denied as a result of the refusal;

That I be compensated $20,000 for pain and suffering experienced as a result of the discrimination;

That I be compensated $20,000 for the Employer’s willful and reckless engagement in the discriminatory practice;

That the filing of this grievance not prejudice me in any future dealings with the Employer;

That I be made whole;

Any other redress deemed appropriate.

Union representatives who receive a concern from a member with childcare responsibilities who has been refused 6990 leave are asked to assist the grievor in completing their grievance form as outlined above. Do not submit the grievance to the employer until after the employer’s final level reply to the policy grievance has been issued unless you need to protect the 25-day timeline.

We will advise the NBoD of the decision as soon as it is available and (if necessary) give the green light for the submission of any grievances you have received to date.

General 6990 Issues

We expect that the employer will wait until a decision on the policy grievance is issued prior to attempting to remove some employees from 6990 leave. Members may be approached in the meantime, however, to “have a conversation” about their childcare needs. In particular, the employer may inquire as to whether these members are able to complete a certain number of hours a week rather than remain full-time on leave with pay (6990).

Our members have an obligation to answer the employer’s questions truthfully and to the best of their ability. The bottom line, however, is that if a member can’t work due to their childcare responsibilities they should be allowed to remain on leave with pay.

The transition back to work will not be an easy one, and it is still too early to know exactly what “normal” will look like. It will be easier to implement social distancing requirements for front-line workers, even though we don’t anticipate that the borders will reopen for at least another month. There is still no clear indication of how social distancing will be accomplished for office workers. When Treasury Board refers to “returning to work”, therefore, we believe that in most instances they are referring to employees formerly on 6990 starting to work from home, not returning to a physical work location.

To date, we do not have any indication that the employer intends to cut 6990 leave for members whose vulnerability makes them unable to work. The Treasury Board email deals solely with 6990 leave and childcare.

Grievance Regarding FB-02 Officers on 6990 Leave With Pay

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As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the employer has instituted two types of leave to minimize the exposure of our members to each other and to the public.

Members who can still attend at the workplace have been placed on “Employee Health Days for Social Distancing” (091) so that they can stay at home but be available to attend work if required. FB-02 Officers are being provided with online training and scenario-based learning opportunities so that all of their days spent on 091 will count for the purpose of the Officer Induction Development Program.

Members who are unable to attend at work  for  reasons  directly  related  to  COVID-19  have  been placed  on  Leave  With  Pay  (6990).   FB-02  Officers  on  6990  are  not   being   offered   the opportunity to pursue online training. Further, for those who stay on this type of leave for more than 30 consecutive days, this time will not count for the purpose of the Officer Induction Program. This will effectively delay the assessment period for these FB-02 Officers for weeks or even months.

CIU has approached management to request that FB-02 Officers on 6990 not be penalized for being unable to attend at the workplace for reasons entirely out of their control. We take the position that these Officers are being subject to a discriminatory practice that will needlessly delay their promotion to FB-03. The employer, however, continues to be unwilling to allow time spent on 6990 to count towards the FB-02 assessment period.

If you are an FB-02 and have been on 6990 leave for a period of more than 30 consecutive days and wish to contest the employer’s refusal to recognize this time towards your assessment period, you may file the following grievance:

Grievance

I grieve that I have been the subject of a discriminatory practice on the part of my employer. I have been unable to attend at the workplace because of COVID-19 related issues and have been placed on 6990 Leave With Pay. The employer is refusing to count my time on 6990 leave in the calculation of service for the purpose of the Officer Induction Development Program. This creates an inequity as other FB-02 Officers who have been placed on 091 Social Distancing Leave are being credited with all days served.

Remedy

I ask that the employer credit me for all days spent on 6990 Leave With Pay for the purpose of completing my assessment period under the Officer Induction Development Program.

I ask that I be placed in the same position with respect to time served under the Officer Induction Development Program as all FB-02 Officers on 091 Leave.

I ask that I be afforded any and all other remedies as necessary to correct this inequity.

Name tags group grievance: Nearly 2,000 signatures collected

Photo of BSO with words "Name tags NJC group grievance" along with a name tag with the word "target" on it

Last fall, we sent a call to action by inviting all members who wear name tags to add their names to our National Joint Council Group Grievance, which argues that the employer’s decision to mandate the wearing of name tags is in contravention of the NJC’s Uniforms Directive.

It bears repeating again: CBSA’s name tag policy contributes to a dangerous work environment, and needlessly endangers officers. Since this policy has been implemented, members all across the country have suffered threats, been harassed, and have had to worry about the safety of their family all because they could easily be identified by disgruntled members of the public.

Well, CIU members responded to our call to action in droves: We recently filed the grievance with the employer after collecting nearly 2,000 signatures. That impressive display of solidarity illustrates what we know all too well: CBSA’s name tag policy needs to end.

We’ll make sure to keep you updated as the grievance process progresses. In the meantime, rest assured that we’ll keep pushing for a safer work environment for all.

NJC Group Grievance – Wearing of Name Tags

Photo of BSO with words "Name tags NJC group grievance" along with a name tag with the word "target" on it

As we’ve pointed out before, CBSA’s name tag policy continues to foster a dangerous work environment for our members, having already brought much harm since it was put in place 7 years ago.

In our continued efforts to bring an end to this ill-conceived policy, CIU is moving forward with a National Joint Council Group Grievance, arguing that the employer’s decision to mandate the wearing of name tags is in contravention of Part XIV of the NJC’s Uniforms Directive.

As part of the Group Grievance, all CIU Branches will be collecting signatures from members who are affected by the policy, using the FPSLREB’s Form 19 – Consent of aggrieved employees to the presentation of a group grievance. This is what the form looks like:

Sample form 19 for group grievanceIt is crucial that all who wear a name tag sign this Group Grievance, so talk to your Branch President or your local Steward to participate, or for any questions you may have.

Classification Reform: PSAC Files PA Bargaining Unit Policy Grievance

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The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has filed a policy grievance on behalf of the Program and Administrative Services (PA) bargaining unit in response to Treasury Board failing to meet classification reform deadlines.

The classification reform process

Classification reform across most of our Treasury Board bargaining units has been a painstakingly slow process that was further delayed throughout the years of Harper’s cutbacks.

In the last round of negotiations, PSAC’s bargaining team negotiated stronger language into the PA collective agreement regarding a review of the occupational group structure, as well as general timelines for classification reform. The occupational group structure review was to be completed by December 30, 2017.

Failing to meet deadlines

During this round of bargaining, the employer was expected to come to the table ready to negotiate with new classification standards and job descriptions for the PA group. The employer has failed to meet that obligation, which has led to the filing of the policy grievance.

PSAC’s long-standing objectives on classification reform continue to be:

  • replacement of the current, very outdated Treasury Board classification system;
  • development of job evaluation standards and job descriptions that reflect current work realities and that are pay equity compliant.

Now that collective bargaining has resumed we will be addressing this issue at the negotiation table in addition to enforcing the existing contract.

PSAC will continue to pursue a classification system that will evaluate and compensate all of our members fairly and equitably for the important work they do.

A version of this article was posted on the PSAC website.