CUPE Secures Quarantine Leave Pay

We are glad to advise that CUPE has secured agreement from the Ministry of Education that they will direct the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the School Districts to assure all employees who need to quarantine by a direction of a public health official are provided alternative duties or paid regular wages during the period of the quarantine. 

EDIT: (02/06/2021) The original version of this news story stated that CUPE & BCTF had negotiated this provision; we have since been informed that BCTF was not involved since this issue primarily affected support staff as teachers have been routinely accommodated in the event of quarantine and worked from home or via videolink.  This matter was not thus an item of huge concern for BCTF and the mistake arose from incorrect information circulated by a BCTF error on social media. 

Public school employees. 

Situations where an employee is directed by a public health official to self-isolate due to potential exposure to COVID-19 and is asymptomatic

  1. Explore work from home options in the employee’s current position for the duration of the required self-isolation;

  2. Where work from home in the employee’s current position is not possible, consider options for re-deployment to work which can be completed remotely;

  3. Where work from home and re-deployment are not possible, provide the employee with general paid leave, provided the direction of a public health official to self-isolate is directed at the employee, and not a family member or person residing with the employee.

Should a member of an employee’s household, but not the employee, be directed to self-isolate, per current practice, the employee may request vacation, other applicable leaves of the collective agreement or employment contract, or an unpaid leave of absence. Employers are encouraged to exercise flexibility in considering options for such requests.

February 1, 2021 and is not to be applied retroactively. For employees currently in a self-isolation period, it applies from the effective date (February 1, 2021).  CUPE and BCTF are still fighting this part. 

Where an on-call employee had accepted an assignment and is then directed by a public health official to self-isolate, districts should follow the steps outlined above. Where an employee is scheduled to work only a portion of the self-isolation days, the general paid leave would only extend to the already accepted scheduled assignment

No.  For unionized employees, this general paid leave is gratuitous to the collective agreements and is not a deduction of existing collective agreement leave banks. In the same way, this general paid leave is gratuitous to the employment contract for non-unionized staff.

Where an employee is directed by a public health official to self-isolate and is symptomatic, employees are not to be placed onto general paid leave, but rather, should be placed on sick leave. Sick leave is to be administered per the collective agreement or the employment contract.

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