As noted in our April 6, 2020 bulletin (Bulletin #110), three categories of permanent postal workers will finally get access to quarantine leave.
At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, it took time to figure out all the different risks that people may have relative to the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing was sparse, rules unclear, risks uncertain. In particular, Urban and RSMC members who are aged 70 years or more, and members who are immunocompromised or at higher risk, living in the province of Québec, were put on "quarantine leave" while the same category of workers outside of Québec were put on "Leave for Other Reasons" and therefore had to use their personal days before being granted leave with pay. Canada Post also confirmed that members who are pregnant are considered to be part of the High-Risk category if their doctors recommend they self-isolate.
In discussions with CUPW, Canada Post has made appropriate changes for members in these categories. Not only are they entitled to take "quarantine leave", but it has been stipulated that medical documentation to prove their condition (for immunocompromised, higher risk or pregnant workers) is not necessary at this time. However, Canada Post has reserved the right to request it at a later date.
Workers with permanent status in these three categories are entitled to quarantine leave at 100% of their pay for as long as the situation warrants it. In addition, those who were forced by Canada Post to use their personal days to get access to "Leave for Other Reasons”, will get those days credited back.
We expressed concerns once it became clear that the virus is more difficult to combat for people aged 70 and over than it is for people in younger age groups. Initially, there was a discrepancy among different provinces, as to how to treat people who were in this group. The Québec provincial government issued a blanket directive that all persons aged 70 and over are to stay home. This was not the case in other provinces, or the directives were somewhat different such as in Ontario. CUPW is satisfied that its permanent members who are in this age category, can finally rest easy about staying away from work.
To determine if you are immunocompromised or have an underlying medical condition that puts you at a higher risk, please consult the Government of Canada’s public health website.
If you fit into one of these categories, CUPW suggests you consult your doctor, and obtain a confirmation from your doctor that your state of health fits these categories. Canada Post may ask for medical information in the future.
There is still work to do to gain access to quarantine leave for temporary employees, and on-call relief employees (OCREs). CUPW continues to press Canada Post for appropriate measures for these workers. Although they may not have the same benefits as regular employees as per the collective agreement, CUPW believes it is incumbent upon Canada Post to ensure that all its employees be safe and protect all of its workers regardless of their employment status.