The impact of COVID-19 on workplaces at the University of Lethbridge continues to evolve rapidly.
The University is open and operations are continuing, though in keeping with advice from public health officials, taking preventative measures to limit the transmission of COVID-19 is a priority. All employees not required to work on campus are required to work remotely.
The employees required to come to campus to work will be determined by a Senior Administrator. For employees who are required to work on campus, preventative measures will be put in place to limit the transmission of COVID-19, including assigning employees to spaces where they work alone, modifying work schedules, implementing new shifts, rotating the employees who work at the same time, requiring physical distancing measures for employees who may be working in groups, as well as continuing to promote good workplace hygiene and sanitation practices. It is imperative that employees and supervisors follow these directions to help limit the transmission of COVID-19. Each week, employees are to submit to their supervisors their activities that they have performed while they have been working remotely.
While the University takes preventative measures to limit the transmission of COVID-19, all employees are encouraged to take preventative measures in their private lives as advised by public health officials.
The closure of childcare and eldercare, along with the closure of K-12 schools, has added significant and sudden challenges to some employees’ lives.
Employees and supervisors have been seeking answers to multiple questions. While questions and answers may vary slightly by employee group, and certain individual circumstances will inform how answers may change by individual, the following answers apply generally to most employees.
Some employees have already put alternative arrangements in place. For others, it will understandably take some time for alternative arrangements to be put in place. Employees should be exploring alternatives as more eldercare and childcare options as they become available over time. Employees should be in dialogue with their supervisors about the reasonable arrangements that can be put in place to work remotely, modify work schedules or any other reasonable modification to work. Supervisors should be flexible and compassionate in exploring these arrangements. There are important equity considerations for both employees and supervisors.
Employees may use vacation, compensated time-off, and unpaid leave to care for their dependents when they cannot otherwise continue to work. These options are to be discussed with your supervisor and are subject to operational requirements.
The University will share information with employees to the extent allowable under legislation. The University takes its obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act seriously and will follow all applicable legislation.
The University requires employees to work remotely until further notice, unless required to come to campus to work to provide services to campus. Employees who have medical conditions (that make them more susceptible to COVID-19) or live with others that may be susceptible to COviD-19, should be given special consideration about finding ways to prevent exposure to the illness. Additionally, any such employee should be adopting the same preventative measures outside of work as they do at work. Otherwise, any preventative measures taken at work will be limited in their impact.
Employees and supervisors are required to follow the advice of public health officials. Physical distancing and self-isolation practices will be required to the extent that is feasible when providing services. Group meetings and in-person meetings should be eliminated in favour of remote access meeting via video or phone. Employees in open workspaces should be separated to meet the distance standards established or be redeployed to private spaces. Equipment such as gloves and masks will be provided to employees as necessitated by their job role and exposure. Extra attention is being paid to employ advanced cleaning techniques to surfaces, particularly in high use areas.
No, under new government directives, employees do not need to produce a medical note to their employer to access paid leave for self-quarantine.
At this point, medical professionals have advised that 14 days is an acceptable limit on the self-quarantine period. If an employee will be away from work for more than 14 days, they should be acting on the advice of a medical professional. A medical note may be required and given to Employee Wellness, where necessary.
If you returned from travelling outside of Canada the University will require you to self-isolate and stay away from the workplace for 14 days after your return from travel, whether or not you have symptoms. These 14 days will be paid. They will begin upon your arrival in Canada. This is part of our obligation to take preventative measures to provide a healthy and safe workplace.
Unless you are disabled from symptoms or on another leave, employees are still expected to work remotely to the extent possible. Employees should register with the University that they are in self-isolation or self-quarantine and speak with their supervisor about what work may be performed remotely.
Employees should register on the Faculty and Staff Illness Self Reporting Registry.
You should not report to work. Medical leave benefits in Collective Agreements and employment manuals apply.
If you do not have medical leave benefits, there are new provisions for paid medical leave of up to 14 days introduced by the government and new opportunities to access Employment Insurance (EI) benefits related to medical absences from work.
Ensure you advise your supervisor and register on the Faculty/Staff Illness Self-Reporting Registry.
Yes, and this is dependent on the operational requirements of the department. Please speak with your supervisor.
Yes, depending on the operational requirements of the department.
All employees will be paid as usual if the University suspends operations. Hourly employees will be paid in keeping with scheduled hours or hours that would have otherwise been scheduled until April 4, 2020.
Graduate teaching assistants with a fixed appointment will have no change in pay. Graduate teaching and research assistants with a casual appointment will be paid until April 4, 2020 based on scheduled hours or hours that would have otherwise been scheduled. The University will continue to review this situation.
There will be operations that may scale back or cease services, resulting in fewer hours of work for casual employees. The University is currently reviewing these situations and will provide further information to the impacted employees. However, scheduled hours or hours that would have otherwise been scheduled will be paid to casual employees until April 4, 2020.
The University is currently reviewing these situations and will provide further information to the impacted employees.
The University reminds everyone that preventative measures have been implemented and resources provided to limit the transmission of COVID-19. This includes:
- advising staff and students to stay home if they are feeling ill
- reminding staff and students to regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and to apply alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable
- reminding staff and students to keep their hands away from their mouth, nose, and eyes
- cleaning frequently touched surfaces, shared workstations and equipment
- provision of personal protective equipment as required
- assigning employees to spaces where they work alone
- modifying work schedules, including implementing new shifts, rotating the employees who work at the same time
- requiring physical distancing measures for employees who may be working in groups
It is imperative that employees and supervisors follow these directions to help limit the transmission of COVID-19.
If an employee chooses to exercise their right to refuse, the University will comply with Alberta OHS legislation for work refusals.
Human Resources has employees dedicated to helping the community through this event.
For questions about workplace, equity and operational continuity matters:
Nancy Pastoor, Senior Human Resources Consultant: email@example.com
Shannon Stewart, Senior Human Resources Consultant: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about illness, WCB and wellness matters (email@example.com):
Suzanne McIntosh, Wellness and Recognition Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Roth, Wellness and Recognition Specialist: email@example.com
General inquiries may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Employment Insurance at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html to find out if you qualify for benefits.
Visit Employment Insurance at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html to find out what documents you need to apply. People claiming EI sickness benefits due to COVID-19 quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate. Don’t wait until you have the documents before you apply. You can get them after you complete your online application.
1. If you are still an active employee, the ROE cannot be issued until you experience an interruption of earnings.
2. An interruption of earnings occurs when an employee has had or is anticipated to have seven consecutive calendar days with no work and no insurable earnings from the employer.
3. If your earnings will be interrupted, your supervisor must send a Payroll Authorization Form (PAF) to email@example.com to notify Payroll, provide the reason, the last day of work, and request the ROE be issued.
4. If you experience an interruption of earnings you do not need to wait for the ROE to apply for Employment Insurance.
5. he ROE is issued electronically to Service Canada, typically within 5 calendar days after the end of the pay period in which you had an interruption of earnings.
6. For more information visit Employment Insurance at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html.
1. If the employee is active, the ROE cannot be issued until there is an interruption of earnings. Refer to “How do I get a Record of Employment (ROE)?”.
2. If the employee will no longer be active, send a Payroll Authorization Form (PAF) to firstname.lastname@example.org to notify Payroll, provide the reason, the last day of work, and request the ROE be issued.