COVID-19 Update for K-12 Members

Thursday, April 30, 2020

FAQ Regarding Updates from Government (See attachments below)

Q.        Will we continue to be paid past April 30, 2020?
A.         All members currently working will continue to be paid. However, the BC Public School Employers’ Association is recommending discussions take place with the union in order to determine the placement of individuals who will not be working. For example, unpaid leaves vs layoff, sick leave, vacation leave, or, in rare circumstances, special paid leave (LTD). 

Q.        Does this mean there will be layoffs?
A.         It depends. The union and the employer will be working together to create the plans that will see the continuation of education for the VSB. The primary objective will be to have as many members working as possible, but there may be situations that some members may be unable or unwilling to work at this time of COVID-19. Depending on the member’s decision, a layoff may be the only solution for them.

Q.        Will my benefits continue to be covered if I am on layoff?
A.         As it currently stands, you will continue to have your benefits covered in the same fashion as if you were on an unpaid leave. What this means is, you would cover the cost of those premiums. But the union also has this on its list for discussion with the employer.

Q.        Has the employer issued layoff notice?
A.         Every year during the month of March, as the employer prepares their budget they always send a letter to the union exercising the notice provision required (60 days) pursuant to the BC Labour Relations code regarding layoff. This year’s notice was no different than past years. However, as in past years, the union advises the employer that we do not agree with this use of the provision in such a blanket fashion and we will proceed as laid out in the BC Labour Relations Code. The union has notified the employer of its desire to negotiate a letter of understanding that would address any potential impacts of a layoff on our members. As an example, the impact on long term employees who may be close to retirement or employee benefits. 

Q.        If I’m currently working in child care will this continue into the summer?
A.         It could have the potential to carry on through the summer and members will be called upon to perform that work. But this is also part of the planning process that is currently underway.

Q.        If I’m working in virtual learning will I be expected to do work in the classroom?
A.         As we previously mentioned, there has been a plan to try and introduce in class learning for a very small, well controlled group of students, but that is now back in its planning stages. So yes, there could be the potential for some members to be in a classroom and some who will continue to provide virtual learning.

Q.        We’ve heard child care is expanding. Is this true?
A.         Yes, there has been an expansion of child care to other essential service workers such as our own Tier 2 VSB members, but there could possibly be an expansion to other schools as well. This is all part of the current planning process.

Q.        When will we know when the plans will be completed?
A.         We don’t have a date, but as soon as we have information available we will share it with our members. It is a work in progress.

Once again we wish to thank all our members for their efforts and congratulate them in stepping forward during this very challenging and stressful time.

Thank you very much.

In solidarity,

Warren Williams – President
Debbie Mohabir – VSB Chief Shop Steward
Kathie Currie – Staff Representative

BCPSEA Bulletin.pdf136.18 KB
PSEC Letter.pdf75.44 KB