More than one in three federal public servants in Canada had been granted paid break day work through the first 9 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, at a price exceeding $800 million, in keeping with a Treasury Board doc.
At the onset of the pandemic, civil servants had been instructed to make money working from home, if doable, in an effort to keep away from spreading the novel coronavirus all through authorities places of work.
Employees who had been unable to work remotely had been nonetheless paid, nevertheless, underneath a provision referred to as the “699” pay code, permitting “other leave with pay.”
The variety of employees authorised for 699 depart peaked in April at greater than 73,000. That quantity had dwindled to only over 9,000 by the tip of November, in keeping with the newest figures.
In all, 117,000, or 39 per cent, of federal workers unfold throughout 86 departments and businesses had been authorised for the depart.
That quantity was lowered by 95 per cent as of Jan. 6, in keeping with a background observe obtained by The Canadian Press.
Leave now granted on a ‘case-by-case’ foundation
The particular depart have to be authorised by administration and is granted when workers are unable to report back to work for causes past their management.
It is separate from sick pay or trip.
“From March 15 to Nov. 30, 2020, the estimated cost of ‘Other Leave with Pay (699)’ is approximately $819 million, based on the average daily pay rate of roughly $300 for federal public service employees entitled to leave,” says the Treasury Board doc, dated Feb. 19.
“This figure is based on data submitted by employees and captured in departmental systems.”
The Treasury Board issued a “clarification” of its depart coverage on Nov. 9, instructing managers that 699 depart may very well be granted on a “case-by-case” foundation and solely after distant or alternate work or versatile hours have been thought of.
As properly, the federal government mentioned that different forms of depart, together with amassed sick time and trip, must be used first.
Union information grievances
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which represents a majority of federal workers, has filed quite a few grievances over the brand new tips. It has additionally filed a criticism with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
The union argues that the directive disproportionately impacts marginalized workers hardest hit by the pandemic, together with ladies, racialized employees and people with disabilities or household obligations.
Chris Aylward, nationwide president of PSAC, instructed CBC News final summer season that it was primarily dad and mom making use of the particular depart within the early months of the pandemic.
“The shutdown of school and daycare left thousands of parents with full-time caretaking duties that made their work … impossible to perform,” he mentioned.
Aylward mentioned some workers who had been unable to carry out their common duties labored within the night, or in numerous roles, so that they had been persevering with to work half time whereas on 699 depart.