Workers lose nine sick days

New leave plan would allow flexibility, cash-out

The 3,600 employees of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in Ontario have agreed to revamp their sick leave plan.

Previously, they received an annual allowance of 18 “attendance credits” that worked like sick days. There was no cap on accumulation, and 50 per cent could be cashed out on retirement. The WSIB was eager to change the plan to reduce costs, but the Canadian Union of Public Employees was able to make some alterations.

The new “wellness days” will number nine per year. Rather than waiting for retirement to cash out, up to five unused days per year can be converted to vacation.

The union and the WSIB will try to find a tax-friendly way for employees to cash out a portion of the attendance credits in their bank. They continue to be available to top up S.T.D. and L.T.D. benefits.

In addition , there were changes to the S.T.D. and L.T.D. plans.

The percentage of salary that S.T.D. replaces is increased from 66.6 per cent to 75 per cent. Also, the elimination period before S.T.D. benefits decreases from 40 days (covered by sick days) to three days.

The L.T.D. elimination period is increased from 60 days to 130 days. This means that employees won’t need to bridge with EI sick benefits.

The union’s ratification bulletin is subtitled “Finding a Balance.”

Bargaining for the collective agreement between Greyhound and the Amalgamated Transit Union for western drivers proves, again, that not all negotiations take place between the union and management.

As soon as the union announced that it had reached an agreement it was “extremely proud of,” local leadership had to defend it against members who objected to voting on the first offer the company made.

“In the past, some members have believed that the first offer is not the best offer. That is not the case here. We turned down the first several offers that we felt were not acceptable … and can honestly tell you that we believe this offer is the best we can achieve.”

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