You are receiving this bulletin as a BCGEU member of Component 5 working at the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch.
As requested by your fellow members at the organizing working group, below are Frequently Asked Questions about your rights to take sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If I am sick and can't work, what do I do?
Inform the employer as soon as possible. You should tell them the date of your return to duty, in advance of that date, so that relief scheduled for you can be notified.
If I am sick and can't work, what is my eligibility and entitlement to sick leave benefits?
- You are covered by the Short-Term Illness and Injury Plan (STIIP) upon completion of six months of active service.
- In the event you are unable to work because of illness or injury, you are entitled to a benefit of 75% of pay for a period not to exceed six months from date of absence.
- The 75% benefit may be supplemented, at the employee's option, at the rate of 25% of actual duration of absence due to illness or injury by the use of the following in descending order:
o Accumulated sick leave credit under the old sick leave plan;
o Compensatory Time Off (CTO);
o Banked Earned Time Off (ETO), excepting where scheduled in a shift
o Earned vacation entitlement;
o Unearned vacation entitlement to a maximum of 70 hours.
Regular employees with less than six months of service who are unable to work because of illness or injury are entitled to six days coverage at 75% pay in any one calendar year.
Regular employees with more than three months but less than six months of service will be entitled to 15 weeks (75 workdays) of coverage, consisting of the above six days, or what remains of the six days entitlement, at 75% pay, and the remainder of the 15 weeks at two-thirds of pay, not to exceed the Employment Insurance maximum weekly sickness benefit.
- Where there is no established work schedule the calculation of hours for the purposes of STIIP benefits shall be based on the average number of hours worked during the six pay periods immediately preceding absence due to illness
- A regular part-time employee shall have their STIIP benefit calculated on the basis of full-time work if:
o works a full-time schedule for any period in excess of two blocks; and
o is subsequently unable to report to work due to illness or injury during the
period of scheduled full-time work; and
o that employee is entitled to benefits pursuant to Main Public Service Agreement
- This calculation based upon full-time work will continue for the duration of the initial scheduled full-time assignment and thereafter will revert to a benefit based upon the employee's regular part-time status (i.e., 35 hours biweekly).
- Weekly indemnity benefits are payable for each period of illness up to a maximum of 15 weeks at 60% of the auxiliary employee's normal average earnings. Normal average earnings are calculated by averaging the total of the straight-time compensation and the compensation paid in accordance with Clause 31.7 (Main Agreement) in the six most recent biweekly pay periods in which earnings occurred
- For absences related to COVID-19, you are not required to have completed the accumulated 400 hours period, and the seven-day waiting period has also been waived.
- Auxiliaries who have achieved 1827 hours worked in 33 pay periods qualify for STIIP as described for Regular employees above, but for a period of 7 months.
- An auxiliary will cease to be entitled to coverage when they:
o Fail to maintain 1200 hours worked at the straight-time rate within the
previous 26 pay periods unless due to Maternity, Parental or Pre-Adoption
Leave as provided under Article 21;
o Lose their seniority in accordance with Clause 31.4(a),(b),(c) or (d) – loss
Do I have to provide a doctor's certificate (ST02 form)?
Your employer can ask for a doctor's certificate under the following conditions:
- If you've been absent for six consecutive scheduled days of work;
- On the third (or more) separate absence occurring in a six-month period;
- Where at least 30 days have elapsed since the last statement was obtained and the employee has been in receipt of plan benefits throughout that period and there is a reason to believe the employee's prognosis has changed.
- In the circumstance of COVID-19 related absences, an ST02 form or certificate is not required for sick pay. On a temporary basis for other conditions, an ST02 may be required only for safety sensitive occupations or other essential services employees to enable the Employer to meet their legislated obligations to plan and manage a safe return to work.
Do I get reimbursed for being required to provide a doctor's certificate (ST02 form)?
Effective April 1, 2020, upon production of receipt, the Employer is required to reimburse you 50% of the cost of ST02s and any other medical certificates referenced in Appendix 4(1.4) of the Main agreement. More info about doctor's certificates to claim sick leave as a government employee during COVID-19 can be found here.
Where can I find more information about my rights to sick leave during COVID-19?
- About STIIP, see Appendix 4 of the Main Agreement here.
- About auxiliary sick leave, see Article 31.8 of the Main Agreement here.
- About part-time regulars, see Article 8.9 of the Retail Stores and Warehouse Component Agreement here.
- About COVID-19 Information for BC Public Service Employees, see the PSA's Frequently Asked Questions here.
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