Frequently asked questions about EWSP

EWSP (Employee Wellness Support Program) would ensure members have access to 26 weeks of leave at 100% income replacement for each illness, on top of 9 paid cough and cold sick days annually. It is sick leave for our real lives. 

Now, the Treasury Board is refusing to secure this plan in our collective agreements – a clear violation of the original agreement. We’d face the risk of arbitrary decisions by the employer denying access to leave.

The Treasury Board must come back to the table and finish the job they started. Now, more than ever, we need secure sick leave. 

In the meantime, the status quo will remain in place for your sick leave bank.

What is EWSP?

We have worked hard in good faith with the Treasury Board and other public service unions for 5 years to develop the Employee Wellness Support Program (EWSP). 

Most of us will experience more than one major health issue in our lives. Many of us are already dealing with chronic or episodic health issues. The old sick leave banks do not meet our real needs. They especially don’t meet the needs of younger workers, women and parents. So we worked hard to get you a better solution.

EWSP is sick leave for our real lives. The program would include:

  • 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
Why do we need the new EWSP?

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 our current plan:

  • Members have been left without paid sick leave when dealing with chronic illness or more than one major illness or injury in their career. For example, if you have to go on long-term disability to deal with cancer and then have a heart attack, our old system does not provide enough leave for you.
  • Younger members who haven't had enough years working to accumulate a large sick leave bank have been left without paid sick leave when dealing with a major injury or illness. 
  • Then when they are facing a major illness or injury themselves they do not have enough or any paid leave.
  • Women are also less able to accumulate sick days and, on average, have 43 fewer sick days in their banks than men.

We can do better. EWSP would ensure up to 26 weeks of paid leave at 100% of your salary, every time you are facing a major illness or injury.
 

How does EWSP provide for members with chronic and or episodic illness?

Chronic and episodic illnesses are covered by the new Employee Wellness Support Program (EWSP). This means that members with chronic or episodic illnesses are eligible for 26 weeks of leave, each and every time they need it. 

During a 26-week period of leave, a member with a chronic or episodic illness would take off the time they would need. After returning to work for 30 days, the member would apply for another 26 week period of leave. 

This member would not need to use their 9 "cough and cold days" for leave related to their chronic or episodic illness.

How is mental health leave treated under EWSP?

Mental illness is covered under EWSP.

All illnesses are treated the same way by EWSP. If you are unable to work due to illness, injury or health condition, you would be covered by EWSP.

 

Why is the Treasury Board blocking EWSP now?

After 5 years of work to develop EWSP, now the Treasury Board is refusing to include this plan in our collective agreements, despite having agreed to this in 2016 and 2019 as a core principle of EWSP. If EWSP is outside of the collective agreement, it is not protected from political attacks. The employer could make unilateral changes to the administration of the program and we would have no recourse. This is unacceptable.

How can I help to secure EWSP now?

You can take part in our upcoming sick leave campaign, and help us make changes to sick leave a priority in the next round of bargaining.

Why is it important that EWSP be protected in our collective agreements?

If EWSP is outside of the collective agreement, it is not protected from political attacks. The employer could make unilateral changes to the administration of the program and we would have no recourse. This is unacceptable.