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Workforce Adjustment

Workforce Adjustment – Know your Rights

Job protection is a critically important part of our collective agreement and has always been a priority for the union in bargaining. The result of these negotiations is known in our contracts as “workforce adjustment” and the details are known as “Appendix D” in the PA collective agreement.

The provisions of Appendix D are highly detailed and, at first, may be difficult to interpret. But with a grasp of the overall picture, workforce adjustment becomes much easier to understand.

A quick snapshot of workforce adjustment is this: When positions are to be eliminated, the workforce adjustment process aims to keep actual job loss to a minimum by moving affected staff into other jobs through a process known as “redeployment”. Where it is not possible to redeploy an employee, there are a number of options available that include cash payments based on years of service, education allowances and alternating positions with an employee who wishes to leave the public service.

Keeping this snapshot in mind will help you to navigate the details of workforce adjustment, and if you encounter problems interpreting Appendix D, there is help available from your union.

Your rights under workforce adjustment

If you are involved in a workforce adjustment, you have rights as an individual employee and the right to be represented by your union (1.4.1) in the adjustment process.

To begin, your department has clear responsibilities toward you as an individual that include this broad obligation:

Since indeterminate employees who are affected by workforce adjustment situations are not themselves responsible for such situations, it is the responsibility of departments or organizations to ensure that they are treated equitably and, whenever possible, given every reasonable opportunity to continue their careers as public service employees. (1.1.1)

Many of the rights you enjoy come at various stages of the workforce adjustment process, so a simple list of these rights without their full context would not be helpful. However, a useful sample of these rights is found in section 1.1.34 of Appendix D:

Departments or organizations shall inform and counsel affected and surplus employees as early and as completely as possible and, in addition, shall assign a counsellor to each opting and surplus employee and laid-off person, to work with him or her throughout the process. Such counselling is to include explanations and assistance concerning:

(a) the workforce adjustment situation and its effect on that individual;

(b) the Workforce Adjustment Appendix;

(c) the PSC’s Priority Information Management System and how it works from the employee’s perspective;

(d) preparation of a curriculum vitae or resumé;

(e) the employee’s rights and obligations;

(f) the employee’s current situation (e.g. pay, benefits such as severance pay and superannuation, classification, language rights, years of service);

(g) alternatives that might be available to the employee (alternation, appointment, relocation, retraining, lower-level employment, term employment, retirement including the possibility of waiver of penalty if entitled to an annual allowance, transition support measure, education allowance, pay in lieu of unfulfilled surplus period, resignation, accelerated lay-off);

(h) the likelihood that the employee will be successfully appointed;

(i) the meaning of a guarantee of a reasonable job offer, a twelve (12) month surplus priority period in which to secure a reasonable job offer, a transition support measure and an education allowance;

(j) the Human Resources Centres and their services (including a recommendation that the employee register with the nearest office as soon as possible);

(k) preparation for interviews with prospective employers;

(l) feedback when an employee is not offered a position for which he or she was referred;

(m) repeat counselling as long as the individual is entitled to a staffing priority and has not been appointed;

and

(n) advising the employee that refusal of a reasonable job offer will jeopardize both chances for retraining and overall employment continuity.

Even a brief consideration of section 1.1.34 shows that an employee affected by workforce adjustment has a right to many forms of important assistance.

As mentioned above, however, many rights of affected employees emerge within the workforce adjustment process, and the full meaning of these rights becomes clear only within the context of the particular path followed. For example, the workforce adjustment path followed by an employee with a guarantee of a reasonable job offer will be quite different from that of an “opting employee” who must consider the various options available through Appendix D. The PSAC has produced a helpful guide to the various paths within workforce adjustment titled Work Force Adjustment: What you need to know about the Work Force Adjustment Appendix – A guide for PSAC members. If you are involved in a work force adjustment process or are interested in the job protection provisions of your collective agreement, you will find this an invaluable resource.

Your union is here to help

If you have questions about workforce adjustment, CEIU can help. Each CEIU local has officers and stewards available as a first line of support. In addition to this local support, there are senior elected officers of the union and CEIU offices staffed with professional representatives. If you have questions, please make use of these resources.

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