Message from the Chief Human Resources Officer: COVID-19: ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ guidance
To: Deputy Heads and Heads of Human Resources
In addition to maximizing employees’ capacity to work remotely, guidance on the use of ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ at the onset of the pandemic was an important measure to help prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of federal employees.
As noted in my recent message, with the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in many parts of the country, the health and safety of employees remains paramount as we collectively manage COVID-19 in our ongoing operations, adapting to changing regional and local circumstances, as required.
The vast majority of employees are working full-time, either remotely or onsite, making use of flexible or alternate work arrangements or leave options, when needed, and following occupational health measures that have been implemented in accordance with public health guidance. This approach keeps our employees safe and underscores our commitment to their careers and well-being.
I am confident that we will be able to continue managing effectively, responding to employees’ needs by drawing on the range of options available in collective agreements and terms and conditions of employment.
To support you in these efforts, we are clarifying the guidance around the use of ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’. This updated guidance, which will be effective 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.
Once all available options have been considered, and managers have consulted with their Labour Relations advisors, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ could be available in situations where an employee:
- has work or technology limitations,
- cannot work remotely and has been diagnosed with COVID-19, is experiencing symptoms and/or is required to self-isolate,
- has caregiving responsibilities as a result of such things as school or daycare closures, or COVID-19 illness or isolation requirements, or
- cannot work remotely and is at high risk or has someone in their care who is at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
More detailed information can be found on the Employee Illness and Leave page on Canada.ca. We will also continue to engage with your teams through the usual touchpoints, including sharing more detailed information and scenarios to support the operationalization of this guidance.
Once again, I extend my sincere appreciation to you all for your continued collaboration and support to the workforce over these past months. I recognize that this has been a challenging time for everyone. Please continue to remind employees and managers of the wide range of services and supports available to them, such as the Employee Assistance Program and the online Mental Health resource hub.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat / Government of Canada
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