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Special Leave and the COVID-19 crisis
By  CMG  •  Posted on  April 7, 2020

Many CMG members working at CBC/Radio-Canada are impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis because of school and daycare centre closures, illness in the immediate family, or other emergencies. If you are dealing with any of these issues, you may request a special leave (see Article 72 of our collective agreement).

Special leave is paid time away from work. It is different from annual leave, sick leave or bereavement leave, and is not intended for short-term or long-term disability needs.

When to request special leave

Special leave is designed to assist an employee facing an immediate or serious need in some aspect of their life beyond the workplace, such as personal matters or urgent situations that affect the employee or their immediate family. This may include child care, elder care, domestic and family emergencies, as well as illness in the immediate family.

For example, you may ask for special leave to take care of a child or elder, or to look after your children during a school or daycare closure. You are responsible for making arrangements to help deal with the urgent need to the best of your ability, such as coordinating with your partner and relatives, or other alternatives.

During the COVID-19 crisis, you may have fewer options due to restrictions from public health authorities, or you may have additional responsibilities because relatives are in (self-) isolation, in quarantine, or are prohibited from leaving their home because of public health authorities’ orders.

Applying for special leave

To apply, you must use the Special Leave form on iO. Please provide sufficient information on the form. If the request is about an illness in the immediate family, you must fill out Part A and Part B. You then submit the completed form to your manager (not your supervisor).

The request may be granted as presented or partially (e.g., two days of special leave granted out of the five days you requested), or it may be declined. Your manager will take into account your individual circumstances, available arrangements and alternatives as well as operational requirements, etc. The manager can also offer you other work arrangements, such as working remotely.

If you are not satisfied with your manager’s response, you must notify them within three business days to let them know you want their decision reviewed. After a follow-up conversation, if you are still not satisfied with the response, contact your CMG Staff Rep. Your case will be escalated to the national level right away, and can be referred to arbitration within a few weeks.

Kim Trynacity
President, CBC/Radio-Canada Branch, Canadian Media Guild (CMG)

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