The wellness of members has always been at the heart of every union's work.
A few years ago, our sick leave was under attack by the Harper government. We fought back and won but a few things became clear.
We need sick leave that is not impacted by changing political tides.
And, we need sick leave that meets the real needs of our members, today.
In December 2016, we began negotiations with the Treasury Board to create an Employee Wellness Support Program that would improve wellness and provide for the majority of members who will experience more than one major illness in their career. Members with chronic or episodic illness also needed better coverage.
We are now finalizing an agreement. In early 2020, many members will have the opportunity to vote to ratify the new Employee Wellness Support Program in our new collective agreements.
This a significant gain and evidence of our collective strength.
Our new Employee Wellness Support Program (EWSP) includes:
- 26 weeks of paid leave with 100% income replacement
- 3 day paid qualification period for short-term disability benefits
- 9 fully-paid sick days
- 3 day carryover of unused sick leave days
- qualifying chronic or episodic illnesses will be exempt from the waiting period
- travel time for diagnosis and treatment
- an employee on the EWSP leave will be considered to be on leave with pay
- full costs of administering the EWSP will be borne by the employer
- family-related leave will increase by one day
You will no longer be accumulating sick days each month. When this deal is ratified, everyone under the EWSP will immediately have access to 26 weeks of paid leave at 100% income replacement. This is important because so much of life is beyond our control.
If you have accumulated more than 26 weeks of sick leave, you will have access to this additional leave as well.
How does it work?
If you are sick or injured, you can access the Employee Wellness Support Program (EWSP).
Up to 26 weeks of leave is available to you at 100% salary replacement including benefits, pension accrual and vacation accrual.
Your leave begins with 3 qualifying days that are covered by your annual sick days or other leave – once you begin the EWSP leave, these sick days are replaced in your bank.
Qualifying chronic or episodic illnesses will be exempt from the waiting period.
If you were required to take leave one year to heal a hip replacement and then the next year take leave for cancer treatment – you could access two blocks of 26 weeks of paid leave. And you would still have your 9 sick days each year for the usual coughs and colds that keep us all home from time to time.
Long-term disability through your insurance remains available. If you were to need more than 26 weeks of leave for an illness or injury, you would transition to long-term disability leave. In order to access long-term disability, you would work with your EWSP case manager to submit an application. Typically, this process would begin around week 20 of your EWSP leave in order to transition to long-term disability leave after your 26 weeks of EWSP leave is complete. The long-term disability coverage through your insurance provides 70% salary replacement.
Review our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on the new Employee Wellness Support Program.
In this 15-minute video, representatives from the EWSP Advisory Team will walk you through the background of the program, how the ongoing work is getting done and the progress that has already been made. Scenarios will also be shown that help explain the proposed changes.