BCGEU Guidance for Health Care Workers
Please take the time to read this guidance in its entirety as it contains vital information.
If your employer is not following the processes outlined below, please speak to your steward and file a grievance.
- Any worker symptomatic with any cold/ flu symptoms should be off on sick leave or medical EI without the need for medical documentation;
- Any worker who is:
- directed by a qualified medical practitioner to self-isolate, or
- waiting for medical direction or a COVID-19 test result should be on a paid general leave which exists in most collective agreements unless their employer has directed them to work from home in which case they are paid as usual. This follows the direction of HEABC to all their member employers.
- A paid general leave for casuals includes not only the shifts they were scheduled for but wage replacement for their average daily earnings for the most recent 3-month period of work availability;
- The PHO's current advice for health care workers returning from any international travel without symptoms is that all health care workers returning from international travel contact their employer to receive direction about returning to work. That guidance should be:
- Those returning from Hubei, Iran or Italy should self-isolate for 14 days from time of departure;
- Those returning from other than Hubei, Iran or Italy should return to work unless:
- They are directed by their employer to work from home; or
- They are determined by their employer to be non-essential for the provision of safe patient care; or
- The work environment, as determined by the employer, has specific considerations that necessitate an enhanced level of caution.
- Those essential to the delivery of patient care (employer's decision) may return to work but take additional precautions to reduce the risk to their patients, colleagues, and the public should they become symptomatic:
- Self-monitor for symptoms;
- Wear a surgical mask at all times and in all areas;
- Follow infection control guidelines including diligent hand washing and use of PPE when delivering patient care;
- Reduce close contact with other HCWs and avoid shared spaces;
- Avoid close contact with others travelling to and from work and between shifts;
- Self-isolate at home when not required at work;
- Additional precautions may vary by facility, health care setting or workplace based on the patient population being cared for and risk assessments made by regional or local public health officials, infection prevention and control experts – i.e. NOT the employer.
- If facility specific guidance is provided by the BC's PHO (e.g. special precautions for long term care facilities given the concentration of vulnerable persons) then that direction should be followed. If the collective agreement fails to provide a leave for such absence, the BCGEU says that the worker should receive a paid general leave and not be made to suffer financially for acting in the interest of the clients.
- The BCGEU will clarify what the travel restrictions announced today by the federal government will mean for health care workers and advise you as quickly as we know ourselves.
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