With the significant number of new employees joining the Canada Revenue Agency and becoming Union of Taxation Employees members, the Communications Committee believe this is a good time to highlight some of the important provisions in the collective agreement.
In this article we will discuss leave with pay for family related responsibilities. Article 42 of your collective agreement provides up to a maximum of 45 hours leave for family responsibilities in any fiscal year. (April to March)
Article 42 Leave for Family Related Responsibilities
The definition of family in your collective agreement reads as follows:
"family" except where otherwise specified in this Agreement, means father, mother (or alternatively stepfather, stepmother, or foster parent), brother, sister, spouse (including common-law partner spouse resident with the employee), child (including child of common-law partner or foster child), stepchild or ward of the employee, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandparents and relative permanently residing in the employee's household or with whom the employee permanently resides.
It is important to note that NONE of the individuals listed above have to reside with the member in order to qualify for access to these leave provisions. Only relatives not listed above need to reside with you in order to qualify for access to these leave provisions.
Clause 42.02 of this article lists the situations for which this leave is allowed to be taken. Again, it’s important to point out that this clause states “the employer SHALL grant leave with pay….”. This means that as long as the situation falls under the provisions of the collective agreement, the employer cannot deny a member’s request for this leave, other than if they have reached the maximum allowable 45 hours in a fiscal year.
A few of the provisions for which this leave is allowed include:
- to take a family member to a medical or dental appointment
- to provide immediate and temporary care of a sick member of the employee’s family
- to provide care for a sick member of the employee’s family who was hospitalized
- to provide for immediate and temporary care of a child where due to unforeseen circumstances, usual childcare arrangements are unavailable. It also applies to unexpected school closures.
Please see your collective agreement (clause 42.02) for the complete list. Members are also encouraged to review provisions in the collective agreement to see if other unexpected family situation might qualify for leave under these provisions.
The union believes this article of the collective agreement is quite clear; however, our members are often asked questions by the employer, such as:
- Is there anyone else you can get to look after the family member?
- This is really a bad time; can you not do it later?
- They are in the hospital; do you really need to be there?
Answers to these questions are not required in order to avail yourself of the provisions of this article. While some clarification may be required, we have found in many instances that this is an education piece. Local union representatives can bring this to the attention of the employer, after which these questions are no longer asked.
The Collective Agreement is an agreement between both Canada Revenue Agency and the Public Service Alliance of Canada as bargaining agent for employees. All parties need to understand and respect the provisions contained therein and not pass judgement on provisions they may not agree with.
In upcoming issues of the Union News, we will examine other clauses in the collective agreement to provide clarity and insight on provisions, which many members may not be aware.
Chair of the Communications Committee