Question: I joined the Public Service in December 2010 and had a pre-existing medical condition. For the 1st three months of my employment, the health issues were not a problem. However, they have recurred recently and I may need to go on medical leave. Will my Sun Life disability policy cover me?
Answer: Pre-existing condition
During the first year of your coverage under the Disability Insurance plan you may experience a worsening of a condition that already existed at the time that you were hired. If this pre-existing condition results in total disability, you will only get Disability (DI) Benefits if:
• You had a consecutive 13 week period when you did not need medical attention for that condition.
• You were not absent from work for more than two full days.
Unless you meet both conditions, your claim will not be paid. However, this restriction no longer applies after your first full year of employment. It does not apply to any other disabling condition that is unrelated to your pre-existing condition.
Job Loss and Financial Worries
Question: My husband’s company is downsizing and his hours are going to be cut. It is only a matter of time before his position is cut completely. We are worried about our finances and what will happen to us.
Answer: First off you need to have a clear picture of how much money you owe and how much you are making. It is a shock to me when I realize how many people don’t know the answer to this question.
Next, right now I want you to put away your credit cards and debit. I recommend switching to cash using the envelope system. Make a list of all bills and have an envelope for each one. Each pay put the money in the envelope and pay the bill. Have an envelope for entertainment and stick to it.
Next step is to have your husband list his skills and passions. Now is the time to take training courses or switch careers before his job is cut. Make a list of his strengths and interests, take a career test.
Something else you may want to do is to call the bank or mortgage company and see if your mortgage is coming up for renewal. It may be easier to renew now while your husband is employed, than when his job is reduced or cut.
Always think ahead, if you hear your company is about to have layoffs or cuts, renew your resume and list your strengths. This is the time to make changes; it’s much easier now than after the fact.
Last week, the Ottawa Citizen ran a news story about the two largest Public Service unions in Canada (PSAC and PIPS) joining forces to urge Treasury Board to get the alternation program up and running quickly – moving from words to action. I believe that a well-functioning alternation program is critical for our affected members. Alternation offers a possible solution to deal with the current threat of lay-offs – one that could potentially be entirely managed through this program.
The intent of the alternation program is to allow those who want to leave the public service (such as those considering retirement), to swap jobs with those who received surplus letters, thus avoiding an heart-breaking lay-off situation. Delaying or standing in the way of a timely and properly managed alternation program, would not be in-line with the intent of the WFA directive as outlined in our collective agreements.
Some are speculating that the seeming reluctance to get this program moving could be because of the financial costs associated with allowing potential retirees to access the Transition Support Measures (available to opting surplus employees) should they be permitted to alternate.
Our union executives are aware of the issue and our members’ concerns about the WFA alternation program. They will work together to push for the alternation program to be put in place quickly, as a practical means to help save many of our members from job loss, while meeting the employer’s budget reduction objectives.
Local 70713 will continue to provide web updates on this and other issues that are of concern and affect our members. Members are also welcome to attend our weekly drop-in sessions every Thursday (see website for boardroom locations) to talk about this and other issues that may be of concern.
Rotha Lennox, President of Local 70713
Question – I have been on sick leave without pay for a year and a half. My employer advised me that my substantive position is being filled with an indeterminate employee and, if and when I return to work, I will be on a priority list. The manager said something about the possibility of “termination for medical incapacity”. Can you explain what that is and how it occurs?
Answer – Termination for medical incapacity may occur under the following conditions: the employee has exhausted their paid sick leave credits; and the employee has been unable to work for an extended period; and the employee is unable to return to work within the foreseeable future (as determined by medical assessment).
An employee who is being terminated for medical incapacity should be offered a medical retirement (depending on the length of time that the employee has been on sick leave and the likelihood of a partial or full recovery). Health Canada (at this time) is the only medical opinion that can approve a medical retirement.
Question: I met someone at work and we really hit it off. We talk and laugh and things just click, but I’m not sure if I should take that next step and ask him out.
Answer: I have some pretty strong thoughts on dating people you work with: Don’t Do It! Unless he is in a different department or you plan to change jobs. Office dating usually never ends well and can be uncomfortable for your coworkers who first witness all the office flirting and then go through the torture of the breakup. If he really is the one for you, then you may want to start looking for a transfer or a new job now.
By Jackie Agnew
Today we live in a fast-paced society that seems to be placing more and more demands on us with each passing year. People are hurrying everywhere, and they’re often rude and short-tempered. Many people are experiencing financial stress, marital stress and the stress of raising children. There’s often mental and physical stress on the job caused by overwork. Many times this type of lifestyle causes health problems—adding even more stress.
Pay Equity legislation
Pay Equity legislation, enacted in 1988, addresses gender discrimination in compensation for work performed by employees in female job classes compared to male jobs within the organization.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada waged a court battle in order to achieve pay equity for the membership in the early 1980’s and the recent victory for Canada Post members tells the story of the opposition that the union met throughout the years. The cost has been enormous and, for less dedicated sponsors, could have been crippling and they might have accepted lesser deals in order to save money and human resources. This was not the case with our union and we are very fortunate to be affiliated with an organization that holds human rights in such high esteem.
Union dues are a small price to pay when you consider the value in terms of financial gain and human rights protections.
How are the pay equity and employment equity programs different?
While both promote and support the goal of equity in the workplace, equal pay for work of equal value, or pay equity as it is often called, refers to the payment of equal wages to males and females performing work that is determined to be of equal value. The objective of pay equity legislation is to close that part of the wage gap that is due to pay inequities based on gender.
Employment equity programs arise from the Employment Equity Act and are also administered by the Labour Program. Their objective is to ensure that no person shall be denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability. Employment equity is intended to correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by women, Aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities and visible minorities.
Perspective: Legislation is only the 1st step in ensuring employment fairness in a workplace. Employers and unions must continue to work very hard and effectively in order to take the steps necessary to ensure that the intent of the legislation is respected and enacted.
The following link will be helpful to members who are subject to relocation. This should help to provide you with information you need:
What is the value of an active Local for you?
The Local is:
- The equivalent of management’s Human Resource Labour Relations team;
- The member’s resource when personal problems or medical problems interfere with the ability to perform at the same capacity as in the past;
- After a lengthy absence, the Local provides assistance to facilitate an effective and safe return to work with the member’s interests superseding the financial interests of the insurance company;
- The member’s source of information and assistance when situations occur that require impartial assistance through a difficult personal time;
- The member’s resource for protection in Duty to Accommodate situations;
- The member’s resource for protection when reorganizations occur and tenure is threatened;
- The member’s resource for information and protection when legislative changes occur that threaten a members ongoing livelihood;
- The member’s resource when harassment, bullying or abuse of authority occurs;
- The member’s resource when discrimination occurs;
- A friend to their membership no matter what the circumstance is;
- The member’s source of advice and support through the grievance steps.
All consultations are private and no member information is shared even with members of the Local Executive.
Consultations can occur off-site and even on weekends.
All calls for advice or assistance are answered within 24 hours.
No member is without a friend
When problems occur, Managers go to Human Resources!
When problems occur, Employees go to the Union!
Your Local 70713 is there for you when it counts.
200 Kent Street
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