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By  CMG  •  Posted on  April 1, 2011

My child is sick! I can’t take her to daycare and I haven’t been able to find alternative childcare. I’m obviously not going to leave her at home alone. What do I tell my employer? Do I have to take vacation?

The Guild believes pretty strongly that cleaning up after a sick child does not qualify as vacation. Nor do we think you should have to take a day without pay, and sick leave is meant to be used when you, yourself, are sick. Some of our Collective Agreements, including the CBC and ZoomerMedia, have provisions for Special Leave, a kind of leave designed to help you deal with emergencies. Under this scenario, you have unlimited days but what they can be used for is limited, usually to emergencies and contingencies in your personal life like moving or getting married. Other employers, including the Canadian Press and Shaw Media, have paid personal days or floating holidays (a.k.a. “floaters”), which are usually limited in number but much more flexible. (You can’t really take special leave for an emergency day of gorgeous sunshine. You might be able to take a paid personal day, however.) APTN has a provision for Family Responsibility Leave. If you’re asking for Special Leave or Family Responsibility Leave, you need to tell your employer why you’re not at work and should do so as soon as you know you can’t make it in. You don’t need to be so explicit if you have paid personal days. Check your Collective Agreement for more information on which scenario applies to you.

Jean Broughton is the CMG’s union services co-ordinator.You can reach her at jean@cmg.ca or by calling 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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