Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Recently we have been receiving a higher than normal volume of calls and emails with respect to the January 1, 2018 changes to the Employment Standards Act. We did petition the Government when they were conducting the public hearings on potential ESA changes, and due to the fact that both the United Steelworkers and the local could not anticipate ahead of time which Articles of the ESA or Labour Code would be accepted or changed, we only became aware of the specific changes when everyone else did, as of January 1, 2018.
Under our Collective Agreement (CBA) all employees have paid bereavement and unpaid Leave of Absence (LOA) days up to 6 months without loss of seniority, loss of your position or any other penalty (unless you are taking the leave to go work for another employer – G4S will grant the leave but will not hold your permanent position for you to return to, if you have one), and 4/5 sick days per calendar year for full time employees having attained one year of service working over 25 hours per week with their respective employers. We do recognize that anyone who is not working over 25 hours per week or who has less than a year of service does not receive any paid sick days so this would definitely be a greater right or benefit to this group of employees.
Further, while the employer does have the right based on operations to deny a LOA for matters that are not legitimate or that are not an emergency, none of the employers have ever denied an emergency leave (that we are aware of or that was brought to our attention) and in fact allows an employee to take all 10 emergency leave days, in addition to the 4/5 sick days and bereavement (no limit as long as documentation is provided), before even considering any type of attendance trigger (which the ESA also addresses “could” be considered to be a detriment), but we haven’t made this determination yet either.
There are just to many variables and Articles to weigh between the CBA and the ESA, since you can’t just take out one Article from either document and say it applies, you have to review it as a whole. That being said we have provided the following document (PEL Greater Right or Benefit) that we hope will provide you with a better understanding of how we are weighing all the language in the CBA and ESA in order to make a decision.
All we can tell you at this point is that we are trying to determine if the PEL days give our members a Greater Right or Benefit than our Collective Agreement, but we have not yet made any determination and are still weighing all the relevant Articles. Please watch for our decision or the direction that the Union will be taking and enforcing (we will send out notice to all employers once that decision is made outlining our decision and asking for compliance), in future website updates or through our newsletters, or both.
Not to take a negative position on this, but it goes without saying, that just because we determine that the PEL language provides a greater right or benefit to you all, does not mean that the Employers will agree with us; as such, grievances may have to be filed and processed with an arbitrator making the final decision on this matter. Since arbitration can take upwards of 6 months or longer, we could be in bargaining with the employers and negotiating this issue before it is ever heard by an arbitrator.
We ask for your patience during this time and once a decision is made, we will let you all know.