Some members being forced to used vacation days
We are hearing reports from members that some employers are forcing them to use vacation days if they have already depleted their sick day allotment and are off work because they are ill or isolating due to COVID-19. Below is some guidance and resources that may be available to you in those circumstances.
If you contract COVID-19 at work, it is vital that you file a Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) claim, even if you don’t lose any wages. As we learn more about this virus, it’s clear that symptoms can continue well after two weeks. By filing a WCB claim now, you protect yourself if your health continues to be affected six months, or six years, from now.
If you believe you have contracted COVID-19 at work, it is your right to report it. Tell your employer that you intend to do so. While your employer should notify WCB about your injury if you miss time from work, it is important that you also file a report. You can do that online here.
If your employer attempts to dissuade you from filing a claim or if you have difficulty filing your claim, please contact AUPE’s Member Resource Centre at 1-800-232-7284 and they will put you in touch with someone who can help you.
PCR vs. RA Tests
The Government of Alberta recently announced restrictions around who would be eligible for access to Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, advising that others should use Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) if they can. Find out here if you are eligible for a PCR test.
While the WCB has recently advised us that they will accept claims even if the claimant does not have a PCR test, we believe if it is at all possible for you to obtain one, that you should. We do not yet have the same commitment to accept RATs or doctors’ diagnoses from either long-term disability insurers or employers.
If your diagnosis is confirmed by a RAT, the government has provided this form for you to record the results. They encourage you to document your positive rapid test result in the event you may need to share the results with someone. (This form is not valid proof of a recent test for the purposes of the Restrictions Exemption Program.)
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) provides income support to individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19 or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
The CRSB provides $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period and you may apply for up to a total of 6 weeks between September 27, 2020, and May 7, 2022. Find out more here.
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
If you are eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period. If your situation continues, you will need to apply again. Each household may apply for up to a total of 44 weeks between September 27, 2020, and May 7, 2022. Find out more here.
Members' Benefits Benevolent Fund
The Members’ Benefits Benevolent Fund is administered by a Committee of AUPE members. An AUPE member facing an emergency that qualifies may apply for financial assistance from the union. The Committee next meets on February 10, 2022; the deadline to apply is February 8 at 4:00 p.m.
Find out more about the Members’ Benefits Benevolent Fund here.
As always, your health, safety and well-being are top priorities. We hope this information is helpful but if you need further assistance, feel free to reach out to your Membership Services Officer by calling the Members Resource Centre at 1-800-232-7284.
Take care and stay safe.