Canada Employment and Immigration Union - http://ceiu-seic.ca/en/collective-agreement-interpretation/sick-leave-policy/
February 16, 2010

Sick Leave Policy

PSAC has maintained their position that this policy does not go against the collective agreement. According to them, this policy has been in existence in the majority of the Federal departments and was applied in the same manner for a number of years. In other words, for the PSAC, this is not a problem and is not even something new in most of the public service.

We have brought it up at different meetings and Service Canada has maintained that the policy is consistent with the collective agreement and other departments – they also maintain they have no authority to change it as it is a TB policy.

The only way we will be able to get our points across to Service Canada will be by grieving to demonstrate that the employer is misusing the policy. When this type of leave was removed from the collective agreement during bargaining in 1971, the employer indicated that they would keep this kind of leave in their policy. While that was so many years ago as to be of virtually no use at this time, we may be able to argue that Service Canada (and Treasury Board) are denying some members leave that should be granted under the policy.

Example 1 – the employer puts a limit on the number of periodic, routine checkups an employee can have

We can argue that such checkups should be approved based on the medical and/or dental requirements of the individual employee as ascertained by their doctor. An individual who has undergone treatment for cancer requires more periodic, routine checkups than someone who hasn’t been sick for several years. The same can be said for those with ‘bad’ teeth as opposed to ‘good’ teeth – dentists wants to see the former more than the latter for routine checkups.

I grieve the employer’s refusal to grant me leave with pay under article 52 for my medical/dental appointment of (date)

Corrective action: I be granted leave with pay for this appointment.

Example 2 – the employer denies leave for a medical visit to deal with a particular complaint (this is what was removed from the policy as being covered by leave with pay).

We can argue that this is a routine appointment to deal with a complaint. In other words, the policy allows for routine appointments and we would argue that this particular appointment is a routine one as well as dealing with a particular complaint. It might take some doing to make the argument but it should be done.

I grieve the employer’s refusal to grant me leave with pay under Article 52 for my dental/medical appointment of (date)

Corrective action: I be granted leave with pay under Article 52 for my dental/medical appointment of (date)

These grievances need to be as fact based as possible so that we can hopefully make some managers see that a liberal interpretation of the policy is in their best interest. Other workplace actions around this issue may well make it easier for managers to use a liberal interpretation of the policy.

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