Updated guidance: Employee leave during the COVID-19 situation
The impacts of COVID-19 and the necessary public health measures to contain its spread are creating stress for people and communities across Canada, including our ECCC employees and their families. Under these challenging circumstances, it is perfectly normal if you are feeling anxious, lonely, sad or worried. It is important for all of us to acknowledge these feelings and the disruptions caused by COVID-19 to our personal and working lives.
To take into consideration the various situations we are living during this crisis, the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) updated their guidance on April 6 for Employee illness and leave on the Information for Government of Canada employees: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) website. You will note there is greater clarity about the acceptable use of code 699 (other paid leave), and the flexibility being offered to ensure that you respect the public health guidelines, and take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Examples of possible use of code 699 (other paid leave), which must be approved by your supervisor – he or she will work with your team’s delegated manager to finalize all leave requests:
- When you test positive for COVID-19 or display symptoms of COVID-19
COVID-19 Family care:
- Due to school and daycare closures and alternative arrangements are not available
- When you take care of family members and are unable to work remotely
- Due to technology limitations, including VPN access or lack of work equipment/tools to perform the duties from home
COVID-19 Work limitation:
- When work time is limited to ensure critical employees have access (due to the Business Continuity Plan)
- Other circumstances directly related to COVID-19 preventing the employee from reporting to work
Managers are encouraged to engage in regular dialogue with their employees on the purpose of code 699 with the aim to reduce stigma and misconceptions of its use. We all have a role to play in ensuring that our employees feel supported in this difficult time. A case-by-case approach may be required as well as the need to be flexible as the situation evolves.
As a reminder, do not input leave requests for code 699 in My GCHR for the time being. Further guidance on system data entry will be provided shortly. In the meantime, please capture this leave in an Excel document that will be inputted in the system at a later date. All other types of leave (annual, sick, etc.) should be entered in My GCHR as per usual.
Who will be authorized to approve code 699 will be based on the length of absence:
- Leave requests of three consecutive days or less can be approved by the director. Collective agreements do not specify a limit to the number of days for leave with pay for other reasons that can be submitted, so there could be more than a total of three days approved at the director level in a fiscal year.
- A request for an absence of more than three consecutive days must be approved by the director general.
For questions about My GCHR and leave balances, please send an email to email@example.com.
For questions about COVID-19 leave requests, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “COVID-19 leave.”
Chief Human Resources Management Officer
Human Resources Branch
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