Six unions that represent employees in the Ontario Public Service, including OPSEU/SEFPO, have called out the employer on their Onsite Attendance Attestation procedure for members who have work-from-home provisions in their collective agreements.
Despite the fact that every employee already tracks their working time in the employer’s internal time tracking system, the employer has added an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy by forcing employees to complete regular “attestations” of their attendance in the office as well.
OPSEU/SEFPO’s Central Employee Relations Committee (CERC) is raising the concerns of OPS Unified members with this wasteful and insulting process at the CERC table with the employer. The six union presidents have sent a joint letter to the Deputy Minister of the Treasury Board Secretariat, urging the employer to reconsider their demoralizing approach.
Read the text of the letter below:
SENT BY EMAIL
May 15, 2023
Deputy Minister, Treasury Board Secretariat
Room 5320, Whitney Block
99 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
RE: Onsite Attendance Attestations
We are writing to you to collectively voice our strong objection and profound disappointment with the Employer’s intention to require employees to complete regular attestations of their attendance at the onsite workplace. While we appreciate the Employer’s willingness to moderate its original approach to our initial objections to the May 8, 2023 disclosure, the revised process remains unnecessary. It will only serve to further chill the morale of members of our respective bargaining units and exacerbate already existing retention and recruitment problems.
The ultimate goal of the attestation process remains unclear to us. Our respective members are already adhering to the direction of their reporting managers on where and when they are to complete their work. If the goal is to enforce a quota of three (3) days in the physical workplace, that responsibility falls to the Employer’s management team. Subject to the flexible work provisions of our respective collective agreements being respected, oversight of the workplace remains that of management. Attendance is in fact, a foundational element of the management function. Our members comply with what is asked of them with respect to work location – inclusive of those instances where they enter into alternative work arrangements with their reporting manager wherein, they work any number of agreed upon days offsite.
The responsibility of our members is to honestly enter their attendance into the Employer’s payroll system. Failure to do so is subject to reporting manager scrutiny and potential discipline. What their schedule is, and where they perform their work, and oversight thereof, is the responsibility of management. As such, it would seem your concern is one that should be solely directed toward your management team – in that it is their compliance you should be solely seeking.
Otherwise, this cannot be seen to be anything other than an extreme form of micro-management – not only by our represented members but also by your unrepresented staff whose managerial agency is being diminished.
Employee attestations serve no purpose and will only further demoralize public servants during a time of arbitrary austerity. We collectively urge the Employer to reconsider its approach to this issue.
Jeremy Glick, President
Association of Law Officers of the Crown
Dave Bulmer, President
AMAPCEO – Ontario’s Professional Employees
Betty Vavougios, President
Ontario Crown Attorneys’ Association
Nihar Bhatt, President
Professional Engineers Government of Ontario
John Cerasuolo, President
Ontario Provincial Police Association
JP Hornick, President
OPSEU/SEFPO – Ontario Public Service Employees Union