1: A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was recently signed by MAHCP, other health care unions and Employer representatives regarding the Employer’s need to redeploy staff in order to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as the situation evolves in Manitoba. Why was an MOA necessary?
MOAs such as this are commonplace in preparation for events like natural disasters or pandemics and are intended to provide additional clarity, protections and compensation for our members. This MOA covers issues related to potential redeployment of staff that may be necessary to respond to COVID-19, and it does so in one easily accessible document. The MOA ensures that collective agreements are followed, sets out clear limits and processes for the Employer to follow and provides compensation for work disruption, travel, etc. where redeployment is necessary. The full MOA can be found here: https://mahcp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/MOA-Redeployment-of-Staff-COVID-19.pdf
2: I am an MAHCP member, but I work for a private agency/employer that is not included in the Regional bargaining certificate employer organization list. Does the MOA covering redeployment and transfer apply to me?
No, it does not. Your collective agreement terms and condition continue to apply, regardless of whether or not an emergency is declared. However, if you hold a concurrent EFT with a public health agency, the MOA could apply to you for that position.
3: I’m a casual employee. Can I be forced to temporarily transfer as part of the COVID-19 response?
If you are on duty on a casual shift, you can be mandated to transfer for the duration of that shift. It is MAHCP’s position that casual employees can’t be forced to accept additional shifts, but you can volunteer for those shifts or can volunteer to transfer as per article #1 of the MOA.
4: Will vacations be affected by the COVID-19 response?
If an emergency is declared, the Employer can cancel vacation and other leaves as per number 5 in the MOA. Prior to an emergency declaration, vacation can be amended by mutual agreement between the employee and employer.
5: Can the Employer cancel my approved maternity leave, parental leave or medical leave?
No, they can’t. These are protected under the Human Rights Code. Contact your Labour Relations Officer immediately if the Employer attempts to do so.
6: If I decide to proactively cancel travel plans, can my previously approved leave be cancelled?
This would need to be done in agreement with the Employer.
7: The Provincial government has suspended K-12 school beginning March 23 for three weeks and they are also closing licensed child-care centres beginning end of day Friday, December 20. What is being done about childcare?
Generally speaking, there is an onus on the employee to make reasonable attempts to obtain childcare. If adequate childcare arrangements can’t be made, your priority is your family. The Employer can require you to supply proof that you have made good-faith attempts, and that the need for your children’s care can’t be met in any other way other than for you to be at home with them.
The Manitoba Government has published the following advice: “Parents who will be providing front-line health care… and will not be able to find alternative child care while services are suspended are asked to contact 204-945-0776 or 1-888-213-4754 (toll-free).”
Even before Manitoba K-12 school closures were announced last week, MAHCP began pressing the Employer for their plan to deal with health care employees who have to take time off work due to self-quarantine or childcare issues related to COVID-19. The government has promised to create “dedicated child-care options for front-line and essential services staff who need them.” We are still waiting for the Employer to offer substantial supports and options. and will keep members apprised as soon as we know more.
8: Will my paycheque be affected if I can’t find childcare and must stay home?
At this point, in cases where you must stay home for childcare and you have no other Employer-based options, you may file an Employment Insurance claim. The Federal Government has waived the waiting period for EI. We continue to press the Employer to provide further options for employees in this situation and will keep you apprised of any developments.
9: What about sick time? Can that cover me if I take time off work to care for my child or a dependent family member?
At this point, you can only use Income Protection if your child or dependent is sick and you have family IP in your bank. Please follow your Collective Agreement, which includes provisions for when IP is exhausted.
10: What should I do if I’m not feeling well and have symptoms?
Canadian Public Health officials are urging those who are unwell and symptomatic to stay home. Please follow your normal guidelines on whom to inform for steps to follow, including the possible need for screening. Income Protection would need to be used to cover this time off. If you’ve exhausted your Income Protection, you may request to use other banked time. If that’s exhausted as well, you may consider EI, as the Canadian Government has waived the waiting period. Claims should be made to EI.
11: I believe I have been exposed, but I’m not symptomatic?
If you believe you have been exposed at work, you should inform your supervisor immediately and document exposure in case a WCB claim is needed. You may be required to fill out a Workers Compensation form with specifics. You may be told to go home and told to access Income Protection. If you’ve exhausted your IP, you may request to use other banked time. If that’s exhausted as well, you may consider EI, as the Canadian Government has waived the waiting period. Claims should be made to EI.
If you were exposed while away from your workplace, let the Employer know immediately. They should provide further instructions.
12: What if I am immunocompromised or can’t wear the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE)?
Notify the employer and your Labour Relations Officer immediately and request an accommodation, which may include reassignment to a different working environment. The Employer may require medical documentation. Your safety is the priority. If you can’t be accommodated you may be sent home and will need to access IP. If you do not have IP left you may ask the employer to use other banked time or seek to access EI, as the waiting period has been waived. Contact EI directly to make a claim.
13: I do not believe the employer has provided me with proper and safe PPE. What should I do?
Please be sure to report any shortages of PPE to your immediate supervisor and your Labour Relations Officer. If you reasonably believe the employer has not provided the necessary equipment or measures, such that your safety and health is at significant risk, you have the right to refuse unsafe work. Refer to the following link for the steps required: https://www.safemanitoba.com/topics/Pages/Right-to-Refuse.aspx.
14: I work in a community setting and perform in-home visits as part of my job duties. I’m concerned about my safety and that of my patients/clients. What should I do?
On Tuesday, March 17, the Manitoba government announced that Home Care staff will be provided scripts to identify risks before going into clients’ homes. We expect that our members will be given similar scripts.
If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to talk to your manager or immediate supervisor at your workplace. If you require further information or support, please feel free to contact your MAHCP Labour Relations Officer or email email@example.com