COVID-19 Update for VSB Members and FAQ

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dear VSB Members,

We would like to begin by thanking all our members for their patience and understanding in this very difficult historical time. These truly are challenging times for all of you.

Your union and the employer are in discussions with the government working through the details of what the school suspensions will look like.

We don’t have all the answer at this time, but will try and provide information as it becomes available.

We have prepared the following FAQ to hopefully assist in answering some of your questions regarding the current status of operations at the VSB, but please be aware things are very fluid and fast moving right now, and we are attempting to be as current as possible.

Are schools closed?
The answer is NO. Classes are suspended, but schools are NOT closed.

Is this a mandatory quarantine?
The answer is NO it is not at this time.

Are we to report to work March 30th? 
Your administrator will contact you before Monday regarding school next week. 

What if I’m an on call employee?
We have been in discussions with the employer and they are preparing records of employment for all on call employees as we speak. They anticipate sending out notifications to you tomorrow Friday, March 20th.

But what if I don’t qualify for EI?
The changes to Employment Insurance that the Federal Government announced this week will be passed into legislation sometime next Monday. Those changes will benefit employees who may NOT be eligible for EI benefits. We suggest you contact Employment Insurance if you are in doubt about your eligibility, and they will be better able to answer your specific questions.

What about our Extended Health Benefits?
The union is impressing upon the employer that if you are eligible for extended health benefits and you are laid off for some reason, your benefits should continue for the duration of that lay off. That has NOT been confirmed yet with the employer, but we want you to know that we are impressing upon the employer that your benefits should continue.

What if I have to self-quarantine, do I need to use my sick days?
The union is of the opinion you should not have to use your sick days for a self-quarantine, and that you should continue to be paid. However, the employer is not of the same opinion. If you encounter this situation, please contact your shop steward so they can address the concern for you and take the necessary steps to hopefully resolve the matter.

What if the government determines this is a mandatory quarantine, then what?
If you are a permanent employee you will continue to be paid. If you are an on call employee you will be eligible for Employment Insurance. But as of today’s date, it is NOT a mandatory quarantine.

How does this affect those on call employees who are participating in a job share or are covering leaves (health, education, etc.)?
Employees, who are scheduled in SFE to work, will be expected to report to work. The employer is looking at the first week back to determine who is supposed to report for work as they are receiving many requests to cancel leaves, but currently they are using the “rule” that employees who are scheduled to work.

Where will we get further information?
Please check the CUPE Local 15 website at www.cupe15.org as well as the employer's website for current updates, keeping in mind this is a very fluid situation and we are trying to provide as much ACCURATE information as possible.