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CBC Branch – Special Leave options during COVID

Our union wants to remind members that SPECIAL LEAVE remains an important provision in the collective agreement.

Dear Members,

In light of the many impacts the Covid-19 pandemic is having on members, it is key that members are aware of the full slate of leave options they have. The CMG is concerned that the CBC’s guide for employees on iO makes no mention of special leave as an option, and management / human resources have not been telling members they are eligible for special leave as defined in article 72 of our collective agreement.  

With the start of the school year, many members who are parents or guardians of school-age children have been bracing themselves. For example, what if your child’s class or school shuts down due to Covid-19, or they need to remain home until a negative test result can be produced/symptoms end? These are just two examples of potential situations for which members have different leave options to consider, including special leave. 

Under Article 72.1 of the collective agreement: 

Special leave is designed to assist an employee facing an immediate or serious need in some aspect of their life beyond the workplace, such as personal matters or unforeseen emergencies that affect the employee or the employee’s immediate family including child care, elder care, domestic emergencies, family emergencies, and illness in the immediate family. 

How Special Leave works 

Special Leave requests must be made to your manager, via an online form, found on iO under the “Useful Info” tab  – “Forms”. If Special Leave is denied, the reason must be given to you in writing, if requested. CMG recommends members do this to facilitate the new, accelerated resolution process. Once you have the reason in writing, discuss with your manager. If the denial stands, employees can appeal in writing, to their local manager, human resources and union representative within three (3) business days. If you need to appeal a denial of special leave, please contact a local union representative immediately for assistance.   

Obviously, the need for Special Leave often arises in emergency situations. It is recommended that in such cases, you let your manager know you need that day (at least), to deal with the situation, and that you will submit your Special Leave request form as soon as possible.

There is no prescribed limit in terms of how many days of Special Leave a member can be granted, but depending on the reason for your need and duration required, your total leave might end up being a combination of Special Leave (which are paid days) and other types (including Annual, TIL or unpaid  leave). 

A word on federal personal leave and Special Leave

Our union is concerned that management has been conflating new federal personal leave provisions with members’ special leave provisions. Federally-regulated employees (which include CBC employees) now get up to five (5) days of personal leave (3 paid, 2 unpaid) per calendar year. This federal leave is meant to deal with personal issues which may include treatment of an injury or illness, care obligations for a family member, and managing any urgent situation. These are also some of the same reasons employees request Special Leave, and you may access both if required. But, CBC cannot allocate your federal personal leave days in place of those Special Leave days.  

In Solidarity,

CBC Branch Executive Committee


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