Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Employee illness and leave requests

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If you become ill

If you become ill or develop symptoms of COVID-19, whether you are working remotely, teleworking or are in the worksite you should:

  • inform your manager
  • go home if you are working on-site (avoiding the use of public transportation)
  • follow the advice of local public health authorities

Symptoms of COVID-19 are identified by Public Health Agency of Canada

If you have (or had) a confirmed case of COVID-19 and are (or were) in the worksite, under the Canada Labour Code, this would constitute a workplace hazard. As such, you have a duty to report this hazard to management. This information helps the employer determine a time period when you were in the worksite before self-isolation and if other employees would have been exposed.

Under circumstances such as these, it is natural to experience anxiety. You may wish to speak to your manager/supervisor, who will be able to advise you on services available to help, including programs such as the Employee Assistance Program.

The Employee Assistance Program is available to federal employees and their families.

If you need to take time off because of COVID-19

Effective: November 15, 2021

Requests for leave will be assessed in accordance with the provisions of collective agreements and terms and conditions of employment.

‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ will be assessed on a case by case basis, taking into consideration whether an employee is available for work and their vaccination status in accordance with the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Policy on Vaccination). Decisions will be made in consultation with Labour Relations Advisors.

Summary dashboard: ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ usage in the public service.

Requesting leave

  • You need time off for COVID-19 vaccination

    If you work in the core public administration you have access to up to half a day of paid time off in order to get vaccinated against COVID-19 during work hours, though you should first try to schedule your vaccination appointment outside of work hours.

    “Time off for personal medical and dental appointments” (code 698) is time off with pay that can be used for COVID-19 vaccine appointments if you are unable to schedule them outside of work hours. This time off is in accordance with the Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements.

    If you experience a side effect that prevents you from working following your vaccination, the sick leave provisions of your collective agreement, or relevant terms and conditions of employment, are to be used to cover absences. If you do not have enough sick leave credits, you may be advanced sick leave credits in accordance with your collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment.

  • You have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19

    If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should arrange to be tested as soon as possible and in accordance with public health recommendations. You should not go to your worksite.

    If you have tested positive for COVID-19:

    • do not report to your worksite
    • follow the guidance of your local public health authority
    • speak to your manager about the possibility of working remotely
    • if remote work is not available, you are expected to use your sick leave credits
    • if remote work is available but you are too ill to work, you are expected to use your sick leave credits

    If you do not have enough sick leave credits, you may be advanced sick leave credits in accordance with your collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment.

  • You do not have symptoms but are required to isolate

    You should arrange to be tested for COVID‑19 with a confirmatory (molecular) test as soon as possible and in accordance with public health recommendations. You should not go to your worksite.

    You may be eligible for ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ if:

    • you require time off to get tested with a confirmatory (molecular) test
    • your work requires you to be on-site, and
      • remote work is not possible, and
      • you have been instructed to isolate or quarantine by a medical practitioner or public health authority

    If you cannot work remotely or remote work is not available, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ will be provided for a reasonable time period to receive the results of your confirmatory (molecular) test.

    If you choose not to get a confirmatory (molecular) test despite its availability, you must self-isolate in accordance with public health authority advice and are not eligible for ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’.

    ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ is not available if you have travelled for personal reasons.

  • You, or someone in your care, are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19

    If you remain high risk, as confirmed by your medical practitioner, and you remain available to work in accordance with the Policy on Vaccination, you should consult with your manager about alternate work arrangements or other measures available in your organization to enable you to work.

    If you have duty of care for someone who is high risk, and you remain available to work in accordance with the Policy on Vaccination, you should consult with your manager about alternate work arrangements or other measures available in your organization to enable you to work.  If there is no possible measure that can be made to allow you to work, leave options could also be available as per your collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment.

    In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). The CRCB helps those who need to stay home:

    • to care for a child under the age of 12, a family member with a disability, or a dependent because schools, daycares or other facilities are closed due to the pandemic, or
    • because a medical practitioner has deemed them to be at high-risk of severe illness from COVID-19

    You may be eligible for this benefit, but you cannot be on paid leave during the same time period.

    Who can apply: Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

  • You have family-related caregiving responsibilities

    You may find yourself facing caregiving challenges such as:

    • an unexpected loss of caregiving arrangements for a child, a family member or a dependent in your care
    • a child, family member or a dependent in your care is diagnosed with COVID-19, or is required to self-isolate
    • a child, family member or a dependent in your care is not attending school in person and their online education and learning activities requires your supervision

    To help manage these responsibilities, you should:

    • attempt to make alternate care arrangements
    • discuss remote work or flexible/alternate work hours

    If you cannot make alternate arrangements, discuss using leave options with your manager in accordance with your collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment, such as leave with pay for family-related responsibilities when the request is for someone in your care.

    All leave options or work arrangements discussed between you and your manager must be in accordance with your collective agreement or terms and conditions for employment.

    In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). The CRCB helps those who need to stay home:

    • to care for a child under the age of 12, a family member with a disability, or a dependent because schools, daycares or other facilities are closed due to the pandemic, or
    • because a medical practitioner has deemed them to be at high-risk of severe illness from COVID-19

    You may be eligible for this benefit, but you cannot be on paid leave during the same time period.

  • You are not equipped to work remotely, and your worksite has not opened

    In very limited situations, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ could be granted if:

    • you do not have access to the tools (equipment, software, internet) to work remotely
    • your work requires you to be onsite, however
      • your building is closed, or 
      • there are restrictions on the number of employees that can be onsite at one time, and
    • alternate duties, or alternate work locations, are not available to you.
  • Students, term and casual employees

    While students, casual employees and term employees of less than three months are not eligible for leave benefits through collective agreements or terms and conditions of employment, they may be eligible for other pandemic related benefits.

    Consult:

Benefit plans: Temporary changes

Public Service Health Care Plan

The Government of Canada has implemented temporary changes to the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP). These measures are designed to help plan members and their eligible dependents access healthcare benefits, while at the same time, minimizing their social interaction with healthcare professionals as well as supporting the physical distancing directive.

These measures include:

  1. Extending travel emergency benefits
  2. Accepting claims for social workers and psychotherapists as mental health professionals
  3. Removing the requirement for a prescription for mental health and physiotherapy services
  4. Honouring existing paramedical prescriptions that have recently expired

These temporary changes will be in effect until  non-critical business is authorized to resume or as indicated otherwise.

More information on these changes is available in the updated Public Service Health Care Plan - information notice.

Plan members who require assistance with travel-related medical emergencies:

  • In Canada and the United States - call Allianz toll-free at 1-800-667-2883
  • In all other countries -  call Allianz collect at 519-742-1342

Public Service Dental Care Plan and Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan

Temporary measures for the administration of the Public Service Dental Care Plan (PSDCP) and the Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan (PDSP) have been introduced to help lessen the impact of the suspension of non-emergency dental services and support the recommendations of public health authorities for physical distancing.

These measures will be in effect for one year from a date determined by the Government of Canada once non-emergency dental services are again available.

For more information:

Disability Plans – Temporary Changes

New guidance has been made available to managers to help them support employees who are returning to work after a period on Disability Insurance (DI) or Long-Term Disability (LTD), and who are submitting claims for benefits. These temporary measures will be in place until further notice.

  • To apply for DI Plan benefits, 4 forms (available on the Sun Life website) must be completed and sent to Sun Life:
    • Employee’s Statement
    • Attending Physician’s Statement
    • Employer’s Statement
    • Compensation Advisor’s Statement
  • To apply for LTD Plan benefits under the Public Service Management Insurance Plan, 2 forms (available on the Canada.ca/pension-benefits website) must be completed and sent to Industrial Alliance:
    • Member’s Statement 1 (form 5945) containing the Member’s Statement and the Attending Physician’s Statement
    • Member’s Statement 2 (form 5946) containing the Supervisor’s Statement, additional member information, and the Compensation Advisor’s Statement

      On a temporary basis, an employee’s more senior manager may instead complete and submit the Supervisor’s Statement form, provided they indicate that they are doing so due to the unavailability of the employee’s direct supervisor or manager.

For more information:

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