Other Leave with Pay (699) and reminder on vacation leave
July 20, 2021 - Defence Stories
The clarified guidance around the use of ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’, which came into effect on November 9, 2020, emphasizes that this leave should be granted on a case-by-case basis, and only after remote or alternate work, or flexible work hours have been considered, and generally only after other relevant paid leave has first been used by the employee. Since the issuance of this guidance, the Government of Canada and provincial/territorial governments have made great strides in vaccinating the Canadian population. In this context, the following clarifications/reminders are being provided on the use of ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’.
As a reminder, the current guidance states that if an employee travels for personal reasons against public health advice and/or Global Affairs Canada travel advisories ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ would not be available upon their return, for reasons related to that travel.
The Government of Canada has recently stated that international travel restrictions may be adjusted in the coming weeks for those who are fully vaccinated (i.e. those who have received the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of vaccines, as determined by Health Canada).
We would like to clarify that if an employee now chooses to travel for personal reasons (domestic or international), ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ will not be available for reasons resulting from that travel. Leave provisions must be provided in accordance with the applicable collective agreement, or terms and conditions of employment.
Medical assessments related to high risk for severe illness from COVID-19
Given the continued progress made in vaccinating the Canadian population (along with other measures in place), departments are encouraged to reassess each case where employees are on ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ because they, or someone for whom they have a duty of care, are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as described by the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the employee cannot work remotely.
As explained on the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Employee illness and leave - Canada.ca website, an employee who must work onsite in order to perform their regular job duties may need to refrain from returning to the worksite (in accordance with public health advice) to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 because:
- they are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as described by the Public Health Agency of Canada, or
- someone for whom the employee has a duty of care is at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as described by the Public Health Agency of Canada
If the employee’s regular duties cannot be performed remotely, they should discuss with their manager the possibility of alternate remote work.
If these options are not available, the employee should discuss their leave options with their manager. Paid leave options such as family-related (where applicable) should be used first.
‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ could be granted, on a case‑by‑case basis, if the level of risk to the employee or someone in their care is significant, based on factors such as:
- their working conditions and the protective measures in place at their worksite
- the number of active COVID-19 cases in the community
- how a return to the worksite increases their infection risk, in the context of the overall actions they take to limit their exposure to COVID-19
- opportunities for the employee to manage the risk of transmission at home or to make alternate care arrangements
Considering the progress made to vaccinate the Canadian population, managers may request that the employee obtain updated medical documentation* from a medical practitioner, in accordance with the Directive on Duty to Accommodate. The medical assessment should consider the factors listed above, along with the immunization status of the employee. Each situation must be assessed based on its own facts (i.e. on a case-by-case basis).
*Note: Details of the employees’ personal medical diagnosis do not need to be provided to the manager as part of the medical assessment for the purposes of accommodation.
Schools and daycares
If schools are re-opened for the new school year, and children are able to return to in-class learning, we expect that employees who could not work due to childcare obligations will be able to resume their duties. If the employee elects not to send their children in-person to school as a matter of personal preference, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ will not be available. We recognize, however, that there will be some instances where employees may be unable to work their full hours if their children are unable to return to school or daycare due to health reasons, limited availability of spaces or other restrictions put in place by provincial or territorial authorities. In these cases, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ may be available for hours not worked, after first exploring all options that will allow the employee to balance their work and childcare responsibilities, in-line with the clarified guidance that came into effect on November 9, 2020. Please refer to the ‘Questions and Answers’ document and ‘Managers Placemat’ that were sent to the Heads of Human Resources on November 30, 2020 for additional information.
Vacation Leave Reminder
As indicated in our message from June 2020, it is important to remind managers and employees that planning and scheduling time away from work is important for their well-being and mental health. This continues to be important this year. Employees are encouraged to take vacation leave this summer and plan their leave for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Employees should also be reminded that, generally, they are expected to use vacation leave credits in the year that they are earned and this expectation remains applicable.
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