Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, is urging employers across every sector of the Canadian economy to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure and assist in slowing the spread of the pandemic to ease the impact on the health care system.
“We’re asking employers to implement systems and policies to protect all Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Don’t require sick notes from workers, waive waiting periods for sick leave under collective agreements, and realize there may be legitimate absentee issues due to school closures. These steps are vital to protecting Canadians and minimizing hardship on workers and their families.”
The union is working to respond to member questions about their rights at work given the necessary precautions recommended by public health officials.
“Workers should not be disciplined for following public health recommendations, defending their own health and the health of everyone around them,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer. “Despite the financial and organizational challenges this pandemic response will create, it is essential that workers are supported by their employers in protecting their health.”
Employers can help if they:
- Require sick notes from workers for absences;
- Discipline workers for self-isolating.
- Waive waiting periods for sick leave under collective agreements;
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) where necessary and encourage work-from-home solutions where possible.