Guide to the Collective Agreement for Regular Employees

Guide to the Collective Agreement for Regular Employees

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Prepared for Regular Employees

Written in January 2022

OPSEU/SEFPO members who work for the ministries and agencies of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) provide the services that Ontarians depend on every day to keep our communities safe and improve our quality of life. We are the backbone of every public service the province of Ontario provides: education, health care, social services, public safety, transportation and infrastructure, labour standards, food and water safety, consumer rights, protection of the environment and natural resources, and human rights and accessibility, to name just a few. The Unified Division of the OPS includes most of the OPSEU/SEFPO members who work for the Ontario Public Service, with the exception of the Corrections Division.

 

Welcome to OPS Unified!

The collective agreement covers a wide variety of “things”. Some of them are critically important to know and understand, others don’t apply to you at all as a fixed-term employee.

The purpose of this document is to help you navigate the important bits. On the first page, you’ll see information pertaining to your local Stewards (also known as local reps). These folks were elected by your peers to represent everyone in your unit.

When questions or concerns arise regarding rights and entitlements under the collective agreement, members are encouraged to discuss these issues with their manager, a representative from Human Resources or representative from Pay and Benefits.  When in doubt, your steward or executive committee member may be able to provide clarity should you have concerns with the information you have received.

This booklet is intended to be an easier-to-read version of the articles that apply to you as a regular Employee. However, this is NOT a replacement for the official Collective Agreement, and it may not have been updated since the last round of bargaining. If you need help addressing an issue with management, contact your local steward for assistance.

How to Submit Your Electronic Membership Application (EMA-Web version). Simply follow this link https://hub03.opseu.org/Forms/emaweb and submit electronically!

It entitles you to member DISCOUNTS on wireless services through BAKA (Bell), Via Rail tickets, Insurance, OPSEU/SEFPO Group Home & Auto Insurance, tickets to ROM, sporting events, Fallsview Waterpark, Ontario Science Center and OPSEU/SEFPO Merchandise!

Contents

 

What is the Collective Agreement (CA)

Article 1 – Recognition.

Article 2 – Management Rights.

Article 3 – No Discrimination – Employment Equity.

Article 4 – Check-off of Union Dues.

Article 5 – Information to New Employees.

Article 6 – Posting and Filling of Vacancies.

Article 7 – Pay Administration.

Article 8 – Temporary Assignments.

Article 9 – Health & Safety and Video Display Terminals.

Article 10 – Work Arrangements (Compressed Work Weeks, Job Sharing and Job Trades)

Article 11 – Headquarters.

Article 12 – Isolation Pay.

Article 13 – Kilometric Rates.

Article 14 – Time Credits while Travelling.

Article 15 – Non-pyramiding of premium payments.

Article 16 – Local and Ministry negotiations.

Article 18 – Seniority (Length of Continuous Service)

Article 19 – Multiple Lay-Offs.

Article 20 – Employment Stability.

Article 21 – Discipline and Dismissal

Article 22 – Grievance Procedure.

Article 23 – Leave – Union Activities.

Article 24 – Leave Without Pay.

Article 25 – Leave – Special

Article 26 – Leave – Foreign, Intergovernmental

Article 27 – Leave – Jury Duty.

Article 28 – Leave – Military Service.

Article 29 – Leave – Pension Trustees.

Article 30 – Employee Right to Representation.

Articles 31 through 34 deal with FXT, Seasonal, Students and Go-Temp Employees.

Articles 36 through 47 deal with Benefits and Leave credits:

Article 48 – Bereavement Leave.

Article 49 – Special and Compassionate Leave.

Article 50 and 51 – Pregnancy and Parental Leave.

Article 52 – Entitlement on Death.

Article 53 – Termination Payments.

Articles 54 through 78 deal with Part-Time Employees.

Part A – Working Conditions.

Other Items of Note:

Workplace Accommodation / Accommodation in General

Work Arrangements – Alternate/Flexible/Modern – Appendix 42.

Harassment/Discrimination.

What is the Collective Agreement (CA)

  • The CA is an agreement between the Union and the Employer which sets out the pay, benefits and working conditions for OPSEU/SEFPO members.
  • Where do I find my Agreement?
  • Article vs. Appendix
    • Articles are only amended/changed during the bargaining procedure.
    • Appendices typically have an expiry date and/or require to be renewed at the expiry of the contract.
  • Brief History (why UN vs COR)
    • Prior to 2017 Unified and Corrections were part of the same CA. There were particular articles and appendices that only applied to either Unified (UN) or to Corrections (COR).
    • Following the separation into two separate CA’s there are still articles and appendices within the CA that are identified with the prefix UN.

 

Article 1 – Recognition

This says OPSEU/SEFPO is your bargaining agent and representation.

Article 2 – Management Rights

Outlines what management has absolute control over. Basically, if the Collective agreement doesn’t say how they have to do it, or that they can’t do it – they have control over it.

Article 3 – No Discrimination – Employment Equity

You have the right to be free of discrimination in the workplace.

Article 4 – Check-off of Union Dues

OPSEU/SEFPO sets the amount of dues to be remitted; the employer takes care of the deductions and sends the payment directly to OPSEU/SEFPO.

Article 5 – Information to New Employees

You must be given access to the collective agreement. You must be informed of the work location and name of your local union steward.

Article 6 – Posting and Filling of Vacancies

These refer to rules about posting and filling of vacancies and new positions, scheduling interviews, etc.  There are rules around the information to be provided to the potential applicants, and accommodation.  The employer shall give primary consideration to qualifications and ability to perform the required duties.  Where qualifications and ability are relatively equal, seniority should be the deciding factor.

Article 7 – Pay Administration

Speaks to the promotion or assignment to another position and the calculation of how the new rate of pay will be determined.  This section also speaks to the establishment of your anniversary/merit date.

Article 8 – Temporary Assignments

These articles mean you are working in a different position temporarily – like an acting manager who is normally an Employee. There are items about the difference in wage, the length of the assignment, etc.

Article 9 – Health & Safety and Video Display Terminals

The employer is required to make reasonable provisions for the safety and health of its Employees.  The employer is also required to provide safety equipment and protective clothing where required.

Each workplace should have either a Joint Health and Safety Committee or a Worker Representative.  The OPSEU/SEFPO members for this committee/ representative shall be appointed by the Union – typically the local executive/president will make this decision.

Article 10 – Work Arrangements (Compressed Work Weeks, Job Sharing and Job Trades)

For some positions it may be possible to work a compressed work week – this means that you work the same number of hours in a pay period, but in fewer days (for example, work 40 hours in 9 days with the 10th off).

There are provisions for 2 members to “share” a position (both working part time). (Art 10.2)

There are also provisions for 2 members to potentially ‘trade” positions within the same classification/position and same ministry, but different locations. (Art. 10.3)

Article 11 – Headquarters

This article speaks to establishing or changing the headquarters of an Employee.

Article 12 – Isolation Pay

This article applies to Employees in remote work locations that may be entitled to additional weekly payment.  This is based on a calculation that takes into consideration the largest center of population within 80 km of the work location and the distance of an Employee’s work location to a center of population of 5,000 or more. 

Article 13 – Kilometric Rates

If you are travelling for business purposes in your own vehicle, you are entitled to reimbursement per kilometer.

Article 14 – Time Credits while Travelling

Any time you are travelling for business purposes, you are entitled to compensation. There is a breakdown of what type of travel is counted as how much time.

Article 15 – Non-pyramiding of premium payments

Any premium payments you receive (such as shift premiums) cannot be duplicated or pyramided. You can’t claim both a night shift premium and a weekend premium.

Article 16 – Local and Ministry negotiations

There are several layers of union negotiations with the employer. These are known as Employee Relations Committees (ERCs). There are three levels – Local (LERC), Ministry (MERC), and Central (CERC).

Article 18 – Seniority (Length of Continuous Service)

Seniority begins to accumulate at the end of your probationary period, which cannot exceed 9 months. Seniority continues to accumulate during certain leaves of absence such as pregnancy and parental leave.

Article 19 – Multiple Lay-Offs 

When there is a reorganization, closure, transfer, contracting out, etc. of all or part of an operation, and thirty or more Employees in a ministry will be surplussed, there are specific notice requirements for the Employees, OPSEU/SEFPO and the MERC.

Article 20 – Employment Stability

Where an Employee may be laid-off, for any reason, there is a requirement for a surplus notice to be provided.  This will include not only the affected Employee(s) but will also invite any Employee working in the affected job functions to voluntarily exit the OPS.

Article 20 sets out the length of notice provided, the different options that the affected Employee has, such as pay-in-lieu, targeted direct assignment, and displacement (bumping).

Article 20 further sets out entitlements for tuition reimbursement, career transition allowance and recall rights.

This is a very lengthy article, and it is highly recommended that you speak to your manager, your human resources department and your local president should you find yourself in a situation that your job may be surplussed.

Article 21 – Discipline and Dismissal

The employer has the right to discipline or dismiss you with just cause. You have the right to grieve such action.

Article 22 – Grievance Procedure

  1. If you have a complaint, you must meet with your immediate supervisor to discuss the issue, in order to give them a chance to address it.
  2. If the complaint is not resolved, you have the right to file a grievance with your manager, in writing, through the Union, within 30 days.
  3. Management must hold a Formal Resolution Stage Meeting (FRSM) with you within 15 days of receipt of the grievance, must give you their decision in writing, within 7 days, and must send a copy to the Union steward. You will be given time off with no loss of pay or credits to attend this meeting.
  4. You have the option to be represented by a Union representative at the FRSM.
  5. If you are not satisfied with the decision, or do not receive the decision within the specified time, you may apply, through the Union, to the Grievance Settlement Board (GSB) within 15 days of the receipt of the decision, or within 15 days of the specified time limit.
  6. There are various types of grievances that can be filed. These include but are not limited to: Lay-off; Dismissal; Insured Benefits; Sexual Harassment; Group; and Union.  Each of these types has specific guidelines which are outlined in Article 22, so be sure to speak with your Union representative if you have any questions.
  7. Any letter of reprimand, suspension or other sanctions will be removed from your Employee file after 3 years, provided that your record has been clear of any similar offences for those 3 years. Once removed, these items cannot be used in any subsequent proceedings.

Article 23 – Leave – Union Activities

Certain union activities are covered by this article (bargaining team caucus, annual convention, among others). If you are an elected member to one of these activities, you will be granted a leave of absence to attend. In some cases, these leaves of absence are paid. In others, they are unpaid, but are classified as “no loss of credits” – meaning you aren’t forced to use attendance credits to go on leave, and you won’t lose accumulated credits.

Article 24 – Leave Without Pay

Anyone can apply for a leave without pay. The collective agreement says the deputy minister “shall not unreasonably deny such requests”. Family Medical Leave and Personal Emergency Leave will be granted based on the current Employment Standards Act.

Article 25 – Leave – Special 

There are special leave’s of absence with pay that may be granted for special or compassionate purposes. 

Article 26 – Leave – Foreign, Intergovernmental 

You may be granted a leave of 1 year or more for employment with the Government of Canada in connection with foreign aid program.

Article 27 – Leave – Jury Duty

If you are a juror or have been subpoenaed as a witness, you are entitled to leave. You can either take a leave without pay and keep whatever the court is giving you or take a leave of absence with pay and reimburse the employer whatever the court gives you. (Regular Employees also have an option to use vacation or compensating time off)

Article 28 – Leave – Military Service

Reservists may be granted up to 1 week paid and 1 week without pay for CF Reserve training.

Article 29 – Leave – Pension Trustees

If you become a pension trustee, you will be granted unpaid leave to attend relevant meetings, education, training, and conferences related to the pension plan.

Article 30 – Employee Right to Representation

Article 30 of the CA sets out when a member may have Union representation including:

  • Disciplinary purposes
  • Investigation which may result in disciplinary action;
  • Formal counselling session regarding performance;
  • Termination/layoff/surplus;
  • Matters related to accommodation or return to work plan;
  • Attendance management issues.

Articles 31 through 34 deal with FXT, Seasonal, Students and Go-Temp Employees

Articles 36 through 47 deal with Benefits and Leave credits:

·         Sick Days

  • Article 44 of the CA sets out the number of days an Employee is entitled to as paid sick time.
  • As a new Employee, you have to work 20 consecutive working days of employment before your sick credits are assigned to you.
  • A Regular Employee is entitled to 6 days as 100% pay per calendar year.
  • A Regular Employee is entitled to an additional 124 days at 75% pay per calendar.
  • A Regular Employee can use their accumulated credits (attendance, vacation, or overtime credits) to “top up” the 75% pay; this is done through the WIN system.
  • If you work shift work, compressed work week, or other flexible work arrangement, any sick time may be adjusted to reflect the hours you would have normally worked that day.
  • Should an Employee be sick on the last day of the calendar year and the first day of the next calendar year, the Employee will have to work 20 consecutive working days of employment before they have earned their new sick credits for the year.

·         Vacation Days

  • Article 46 of the CA sets out vacation entitlements based on the Employee’s length of service
    • 1 ¼ days per month for first 8 years of service (15 days)
    • 1 2/3 days per month after 8 years of service (20 days)
    • 2 1/12 days per month after 15 years of service (25 days)
    • 2 ½ days per month after 26 years of service (30 days)
  • An Employee can carry over up to 1 year’s worth of vacation credits into the next calendar year.
  • A New Employee must wait 6 months of continuous service before they are eligible to take vacation time.

·         Pension

  • All Regular Employees are provided with a pension through OPTrust
  • More information can be found at: https://www.optrust.com/Home/default.asp
  • Contributions to the Pension are matched by the Employer
  • Contributions are calculated at 9.4% of your base salary up to $61,600; over $61,600, the contributions are calculated at 11%.

·         Medical, Life and Long-Term Income Protection

  • Articles 38, 39, 40 and 42 of the CA sets out benefits and income protection entitlements.
  • All Regular Employees are automatically enrolled in the Basic Medical Benefits and Basic Life Insurance; the Employer pays the premiums for these benefits.
  • Additional Medical Coverage for Family Coverage are available for members to purchase.
  • Supplemental Life Insurance is also available for members to purchase.
  • Any changes to your Medical and/or Life Insurance coverage must be within 30 days of hire or major life event (for example: Marriage, Divorce, Birth or Adoption of a Child).
  • Medical and Life Insurance are provided through Manulife, while Dental coverage is provided through Canada Life.

Article 48 – Bereavement Leave

You are entitled to time off to grieve.  There are different number of days allowed off with pay depending on the familial relationship.  There is also an unpaid leave should you need to travel more than 800km to attend the funeral

Article 49 – Special and Compassionate Leave

You can apply for this leave under “special compassionate grounds”. Up to 3 days per calendar year can be granted. This leave would not count against your attendance credits.

Article 50 and 51 – Pregnancy and Parental Leave

This is a protected leave under both the collective agreement and the Employment Standards Act.  During the leave the Employee is entitled to payments under the Employment Insurance Act, as well as ‘top up’ provisions under the collective agreement.

Article 52 – Entitlement on Death

Should an Employee who has served more than 6 months in the OPS, die, their benefactor/estate will receive 1/12 of their regular annual salary, any accrued vacation pay and/or overtime credits.  There is also a provision for applicable severance pay.

 Article 53 – Termination Payments

This section sets out the amount of termination pay an Employee is entitled to should their employment cease.  This will be calculated based on their date of hire, continuous service date and last date of employment.

Articles 54 through 78 deal with Part-Time Employees

Part A – Working Conditions

These Articles -UN 1 through UN 13, set out the hours of work for each schedule, shift premiums, rest periods, overtime, call back, stand-by, on-call duty, meal allowances and holiday payment.

Other Items of Note:

Workplace Accommodation / Accommodation in General 

An accommodation is any job modification or change to existing methods,

equipment, systems, hours of work, work location, workflow or processes which

enables the individual to fulfill the essential duties of the job, in a manner that is

respectful of their right to full and productive participation in the workplace.

The duty to accommodate in the workplace is the legal requirement for

employers to proactively eliminate employment standards, requirements,

practices or rules that discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis of

a prohibited ground such as race, sex, disability, age and so on.

Where to get help if you require accommodation:

  • Advise your union steward.
  • Speak with your employer (Supervisor)
  • If the employer is unwilling to provide an accommodation, go back to your union steward for options and possible course of action.
  • Reach out to OPSEU/SEFPO Equity Unit (https://opseu.org/equity-unit/)

Responsibilities of the worker being accommodated:

  • Identify the need for individual accommodation;
  • Be reasonable and open in looking at possible accommodations;
  • Communicate with the Union and the employer; and
  • Supply relevant information.

Different tools and resources are also available to you through the Ontario Human Rights Code and policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate.

See:

  • OPSEU/SEFPO’s course, Fighting for Inclusive Workplaces: An OPSEU Introduction to the Duty to accommodation
  • Ontario Human Rights Commission <www.ohrc.on.ca>

Work Arrangements – Alternate/Flexible/Modern – Appendix 42

There are many different agreements that may be available depending on your position and what your work functions are, for alternate work arrangements such as Compressed Work Weeks, Tele-Work, Flex-Time, Remote Work.

These agreements are voluntary and must have a written agreement signed by the manager and the Employee.

Harassment/Discrimination

 

As a Unified member you have the right to a workplace that is free from harassment and discrimination, which includes workplace bullying.