New ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ guidance in light of the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination

30905 News Local 30905 - Edmonton

November 2, 2021 – Defence Stories

Effective November 15, 2021, following the full implementation of the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (referred to as the Policy on C-19 vaccination), the guidance on the use of ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’for reasons related to the pandemic, issued in March 2020 and clarified in November 2020 will be replaced by the guidance described below.

Canada’s progress in vaccinating its population and in implementing effective public health measures, including widely available COVID-19 vaccines and rapid tests, allows the Employer to return to the standard application of the provisions of the collective agreements and terms and conditions of employment.

This means that ‘Other Leave with Pay (699)’ will only be available under exceptional circumstances and for temporary usage, and only where existing provisions of the applicable collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment do not apply to the situation. Furthermore, ‘Other Leave with Pay (699)’ is not to be used to supplement the specific negotiated provisions of collective agreements, e.g., where the employee has exhausted their sick leave or family-related responsibilities leave.

Therefore, effective November 15, 2021 requests for ‘Other Leave with Pay (699) will be assessed on whether the employee remains available for work taking into consideration their vaccination status in accordance with thePolicy on C-19 vaccination.

Prior to the pandemic, ‘Other Leave with Pay (699)’ provided important support for federal public servants, when they were temporarily unable to work due to natural disasters like flooding, ice storms or forest fires, or due to unusual circumstances like being stranded abroad due to a volcanic eruption. In each case, employees have accessed leave on the basis of need, and then returned to regular working status as soon as they were able. ‘Other Leave with Pay (699)’ will remain available for such purposes.

Please find the details of this new guidance below. This guidance will be updated on the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Employee illness and leave webpage in the coming days.

Managers must continue to examine individual requests relating to ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ on a case‑by‑case basis, in consultation with their Labour Relations Advisor. Labour Relations Advisors, can in turn, send questions related to this guidance to the OCHRO COVID mailbox (covid19-err-rpr@tbs-sct.gc.ca).

699 Leave eligibility categories

Effective November 15, 2021, requests for ‘Other Leave with Pay (699)’ will be assessed on whether the employee remains available for work, taking into consideration their vaccination status, as follows:

A. The employee is symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19

If the employee is experiencing symptoms that could mean they are infected with COVID-19, they must follow the guidance of their local public health authority. Do not report to a worksite; if possible, work remotely. Get tested as soon as possible. If remote work is not available, or they are too sick to work, they are expected to use their existing sick leave credits.

If they have tested positive for COVID-19, they must follow the guidance of their local public health authority. Do not report to a worksite; if possible, work remotely.

If they are too ill to work some or all of their hours, they are expected to use their existing sick leave credits.

If they do not have enough sick leave credits, they may be advanced sick leave credits in accordance with their collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment.

B. The employee is required to self-isolate and is asymptomatic

If the employee is required to isolate or quarantine, they should arrange to be tested for COVID‑19 as soon as possible and in accordance with public health recommendations. They should not go to their worksite.

‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ will be provided for a reasonable time period to receive the results of this test if they cannot work remotely or if remote work is not available.

They may be eligible for ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ if:

  • they require time off to get tested
  • their work requires them to be onsite, and
    • remote work is not possible, and
    • they have been instructed to isolate or quarantine by a medical practitioner or public health authority

‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ will not be available if they have travelled for personal reasons and are required to isolate or quarantine.

Note: If they test positive or are too ill to work, they are expected to use their sick leave credits.

C. The employee is at high risk of experiencing severe illness from COVID-19 infection, or the employee has a duty of care for someone who is at high risk

If the employee continues to be high risk, as confirmed by their medical practitioner, and they remain available to work in accordance with the policy on C-19 vaccination:

  • the accommodation process must be initiated as soon as possible, if it is not already underway. 699 leave could be provided up until and including November 14, 2021. After this date, departments should consult with departmental representatives on alternate work arrangements or other measures to enable the employee to work

If the employee has a duty of care for someone who is high risk, and they remain available to work in accordance with the Policy on C-19 vaccination:

  • the accommodation process must be initiated, if it is not already underway. 699 leave could be provided up until and including November 14, 2021. If there is no possible measure that can be made to allow them to work (e.g., remote work, alternate duties), leave options could also be available as per their collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment.

D. The employee has family-related responsibilities

The employee may find themselves facing challenges related to family responsibilities, for example:

  • an unexpected loss of caregiving arrangements for a child, a family member or a dependent in their care has occurred
  • a child, family member or a dependant in their care is diagnosed with COVID-19, or is required to self-isolate
  • a child, family member or a dependant in their care is not attending school in person and their online education and learning activities requires their supervision

To help manage these responsibilities, the employee should:

  • actively attempt to make alternate care arrangements
  • discuss remote work and/or flexible or alternate work hours with their manager

If the employee cannot make alternate arrangements to work:

  • discuss using paid leave options with their manager, in accordance with their collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment, such as leave with pay for family-related responsibilities when the request is for someone in their care. If there is no possible measure that can be made to allow them to work, leave options could be available as per their collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment.

E. The employee is not equipped to work remotely or their worksite is not open

In very limited situations, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ could be granted if:

  • they do not have access to the tools (equipment, software, internet) to work remotely.
  • they work requires them to be onsite, however
    • their building is closed, or
    • there are restrictions on the number of employees that can be onsite at one time, or
    • alternate duties, or alternate work locations, are not available to them.