September 18, 2020
To: All Members
Re: COVID-19 and Sick Leave – Update
As outlined in the School Re-entry Guidance for NLTA Members document, which was updated and sent to all members on September 3, 2020, the NLTA continues to pursue issues related to sick leave. It is your Association’s position that neither the school districts nor government have the right to require NLTA members to use sick leave when directing them to remain out of the workplace if they feel well, fit and able enough to work. The government and NLESD have confirmed in writing that they are not in agreement with the Association’s position and, while we are awaiting an official response, we expect the position of the CSFP to be the same. Policy grievances were filed and notice to move the matter to arbitration has been submitted. NLTA will be pushing for as early a hearing date as possible; however, such matters can take some time. While the NLTA pursues this issue as quickly as possible through the established process, it is important that all NLTA members observe the guidance that follows below.
If a member feels well, fit and able to perform their duties but, upon completing the required COVID-19 screening questionnaire and following the directions therein, determines that they have two or more new or worsening symptoms of those listed and is advised that they cannot report to work, they should:
Prior to communicating a decision to remain at home, report their screening results to their school administration and request paid leave (NOT sick leave) as per Clause 18.11 of the Provincial Collective Agreement (Labrador West Clause 29.11), which is payroll leave Code 17. Principals should report screening results to their Director of Schools (DOS, Directrice des services éducatifs for the CSFP).
- Be advised and aware that school administrators will provide information as directed by the school district, which will be based upon government policy.
- If paid leave (payroll leave Code 17) is approved, the member should remain at home.
If the member is directed to take sick leave (payroll leave Code 1), they should remain at home and contact the NLTA for assistance in filing a grievance.
- If, while the grievance process is being pursued, the member has exhausted their entitlement to paid sick leave, they should again request paid leave pursuant to Clauses 18.11 and 29.11 of the Provincial and Labrador West Collective Agreements, respectively, and contact the NLTA for assistance.
For members who are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (asymptomatic) but are directed not to attend work as a result of being identified as a close contact of a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case, the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) reached between the NLTA and both school districts secures special paid leave pending COVID-19 testing. Should a member who is off on special paid leave develop symptoms, they should refer to the information above.
Some members have expressed concern with getting timely access and clear responses when calling 8-1-1 for advice/direction. Therefore, your Association recommends that you take detailed notes of the call and the information/direction you receive. Record the date and time of the call and ask for the name of the person you speak with. If a “suggestion” is made, request clarification of what the Public Health direction/advice is in your specific circumstances.
As always, NLTA members seeking advice/assistance on specific matters related to their individual circumstances should contact the Association via email@example.com.