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Ask a Life Coach

Question:

Dear Jackie,
Things have been so stressful at work lately with all the layoffs and job cuts.  The atmosphere at work is so dismal that I feel drained the minute I walk into the building.  I am so thankful my job wasn’t one of those cut but I also feel guilty because many of my friends lost jobs.  How can I be supportive but not feel dragged down?   Also how do I prepare for the next time this happens?
Thanks,
Andrea

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Ask a Local Q&A on Duty to Accomodate

Question: My manager recently advised me that they want me to start working a 9:00 to 5:00 shift. For the past year I have been working from 8:00 to 4:00. Working these hours allows me just enough time to be able to pick up my child from the day care before it closes at 4:30. I told my manager that the new work schedule is not possible for me given my family situation, but they are insisting. My question is whether I have the right to refuse and what my rights are.

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Notice of Contact Changes During Summer Holidays

Notice of Contact Changes During Summer Holidays:

Please note that members with urgent matters between August 10 and 28th, 2012 should contact Jason Hubert, Vice President of Local 70713 at (phone # 613-998-7633).

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Ask a Life Coach

Question:  I seem to take my work home with me and never get time to relax.  How do I leave the office at the office and spend quality time with my friends and family?

Answer:  It’s easy; don’t take it home with you, it will still be there tomorrow.  Seriously though when you get home, first thing you need to do is change out of your work clothes and unless you are on-call, shut off the phone.  Make a conscious decision to switch gears and leave the computer and work-worries at the office. Plan for fun at home and focus on what is most important in your life outside of work. If there are times when you just have to take work home make sure you schedule time for yourself.  If you are consistently overloaded with work, maybe it is time to have a discussion with your manager to talk about workload, priority setting and expectations.  They may not know that you are taking work home all the time. Maybe there is someone else in your work unit who may be able to lighten your load.

 

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Ask Your Local Q&As

Question: My manager recently advised me that they want me to start working a 9:00 to 5:00 shift.  For the past year I have been working from 8:00 to 4:00.  Working these hours allows me just enough time to be able to pick up my child from the day care before it closes at 4:30. I told my manager that the new work schedule is not possible for me given my family situation, but they are insisting. My question is whether I have the right to refuse and what my rights are.

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Ask the Local Q&A’s

Question: A few years ago, my doctor diagnosed me with a medical illness that the insurance company would not approve. That decision was appealed twice and, finally, a last appeal confirmed the Industrial Alliance decision to deny benefits. During the process, a new medical claim was filed and denied. The complication is that during the ensuing period of time, my diagnosis changed, but the insurance company refused to allow the original diagnosis to change on the original claim. My employer has been fair and I have returned to work at various times with accommodations, but the illness is wearing me down and I know that there is no way I can continue to work. I am upset that the insurance company refused to allow the original claim to be altered and that I lost the financial support from my policy for the past 3 years. I don’t know what to do next.

Answer: The appeal process for claims filed with the Industrial Alliance is different than with Sun Life. The major difference is that clients of the Industrial Alliance are represented by the Treasury Board of Canada during the appeal process. Once the final appeal is denied, there is little (if anything) that can be done to change the decision. In order to submit a new medical claim and have the likelihood of it being approved, the following criteria (at a minimum) must be met:

• The employee must return to work on a full-time basis for at least 30 consecutive days and then submit a new claim with new medical information;

• The qualifying period of 90 days or 13 week would apply again before any Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits would be paid if approved.

• The past must be the past and, in my opinion, the years of lost financial compensation cannot be regained. The claim that was re-submitted and denied while the first claim was under review or appeal, probably did not meet the criteria as indicated above.

For specific case information, you would be well advised to consult with a Human Resources advisor.

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Questions for a Life Coach

Boss Trouble

Question: My manager won’t let me make any decisions on my own. She complains about everything I do. I hate going in to work and have used up almost all my sick days.

Answer: If you are feeling like this, chances are your manager is feeling frustrated as well. Have you ever spoken to her about the issues? Have you ever asked her why she is unhappy with your work? Maybe her personality is to be controlling and negative, and it really has nothing to do with you. But even so, if your work is making you sick perhaps it is time for a change. You have resources available for you if you need someone to talk to about these kinds of problems. Contact your union local, or call the employee assistance program at:

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Ask the Local Q&A’s

 

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.

AND

• 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.

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Questions for a Life Coach

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.

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Work Force Adjustment and Alternation

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

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