A decision is expected by late January 2022 on PSAC’s policy grievances defending the use of 699 leave for federal public service workers during the pandemic.
PSAC presented its case against Treasury Board for restricting the use of 699 leave for members who were unable to work because of child care, elder care, disability, or other issues brought on by COVID-19 at Federal Public Service Labour Relations Board hearings throughout the summer and fall.
Discriminatory leave policy
The grievances challenge the policy for forcing members to exhaust all other available paid leave—including vacation, sick, or family leave—before they can access 699 leave for COVID-19-related reasons.
At the hearing, PSAC argued that the employer’s 699 leave policy violates members’ collective agreements and could lead to discriminatory outcomes for groups who are disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.
Next steps and individual grievances
The Board chairperson intends to deliver a decision by the end of January 2022.
PSAC continues to fight to ensure all PSAC members – especially those most impacted by COVID-19 – have the support they need to get through the pandemic.
Temporary changes to 699 leave
As of December 20 2021, Treasury Board has put in place temporary changes to make it easier for federal public service workers with caregiving responsibilities to access 699 leave during the pandemic.
Treasury Board also clarified their language around the use of vacation leave in relation to 699 leave. These are key issues PSAC raised during policy grievance hearings, and it’s encouraging to see the government proactively implement these changes before a decision is delivered by the labour board.
If you need leave related to COVID-19, you should continue to request 699 leave. If your request is denied or you are forced to take other types of leave, reach out immediately to your PSAC regional office or your component labour relations officer to discuss whether you should file an individual or group grievance.
Members employed by Treasury Board and PSAC-UTE members are also eligible for paid 698 leave to attend COVID-19 vaccination appointments.