This pandemic brings a lot of stress and anxiety to everyone, and it’s important at times like this that we be patient and respect one another. We also need to be sure that we’re being vigilant and following safety protocols so we can continue to look after each other at home and in the workplace.
Frequently Asked Questions
UFCW 832 has put together this information sheet to help answer some of your questions. You can also always reach out to your Union Representative if you have any additional questions.
What if I think I’ve got COVID-19?
Is it COVID-19 or just a regular cold or flu? It can be hard to tell. If you’re not sure you can do a self-assessment online at Manitoba Shared Health: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/
If your symptoms do seem like you might have COVID-19 you can find info on testing and isolation requirements on the Manitoba government site: https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/testing/
You can also call Health Links 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257
Do I have to go to work if I am sick?
No, you should absolutely not go to work if you are sick.
Employers requiring employees to be at work when they are sick are endangering the safety and health of all other employees and customers, and are arguably in violation of provincial safety and health legislation. If this is happening in your workplace you need to report it to your union representative immediately.
What if I can’t work because of a positive test, self-isolation or I am caring for my sick child or family member?
If you are having trouble navigating the systems below or have additional questions, you should contact your union representative directly or reach out to the Community Unemployed Help Centre (CUHC).
All of the CUHC’s services are provided free of charge. They can be reached by calling 1-866-942-6556 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employer-paid sick leave
You may be able to use sick leave or other paid leave credits such as vacation or accrued overtime. Some employers are doing more for their employees, check with your Union Rep.
Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits
The existing Employment Insurance (EI) system has been revamped in the wake of the pandemic in order to be more responsive to the needs of workers in our current economy. Some of the temporary changes that have been implemented are hourly credits, which reduces the number of hours worked that an applicant needs in order to qualify for benefits to 420. Read more about EI Sickness Benefits.
Loblaw employees: What to do if you’re sick with COVID.
- If you are Part-Time on Tier 1, you can use your sick time from PBAS. If you’ve used all of your time, your illness continues and you cannot return to work yet, you will need to apply for EI Sickness Benefits.
- If you are Full-Time or Part-Time on Tier 2, you can use your sick days from the company plan. If you’ve used all of your days, your illness continues and you cannot return to work yet, you’ll need to apply for Short-Term Disability.
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit expired May 8, 2022 and is no longer available.
Loblaw Health and Welfare Plan Office
Email:email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Red River Coop employees: What to do if you’re sent home because you’re a close contact or you have COVID.
1. You’re home waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.
- If you are Part-Time, you can use your sick time while off waiting for a result.
- If you are Full-Time, you can use 3 days of your sick time before switching to Weekly Indemnity.
2. You have to self-isolate or you test positive.
- If you are Part-time on Plan 2, you will want to access the Canada Sickness Recovery Benefit (see below).
- If you are Full-Time or Part-Time on Plan 1, you can apply for Weekly Indemnity which would cover 70% of your basic weekly earnings. You may also apply the CSRB if you so choose.
If your illness continues and you cannot return to work, you will need to apply for Weekly Indemnity if you are Full-Time or Part-Time on Plan 1. If you are Part-Time on Plan 2, you will need to apply for EI Sickness Benefits.
Red River Co-op Health and Welfare Plan Office Number: 204-982-4177
I think I got COVID-19 from my workplace, do I file for WCB?
Yes, you have the right to file a claim with the Workers Compensation Board if you have reason to believe you got COVID-19 at your workplace.
Can I refuse work if I don’t feel safe?
The Workplace Safety and Health Act gives employees the right to refuse work if they believe on reasonable grounds that the work constitutes a danger to their safety or health. The right to refuse dangerous work is not to be taken lightly and must be done in accordance with the process set out in the legislation or your collective agreement.
In Manitoba, the process for refusing dangerous work is a follows:
- Employees must report the work refusal to the employer and explain why they believe the work is dangerous. The employer and the employee then work together to assess the risk and resolve the concern.
- If the employer and employee are unable to agree on a resolution, an employee representative from the safety and health committee, or another employee can be brought in to help assess the situation and attempt to resolve the issue.
- If the situation cannot be resolved and the worker still feels the work is dangerous for them to perform, Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) is to be contacted to determine whether or not the work is unsafe. An investigation will be initiated and a decision will be made.
Dangerous work is generally defined as follows and may be applied differently to each individual employee:
- a hazard that is unusual to the normal working conditions or tasks;
- a hazard that is increased due to the health or physical condition of the employee;
- a hazard that is likely to result in serious injury or illness; and reasonable controls have not been put in place to reduce or eliminate the hazard.
Employees generally will get paid during the refusal process, unless WSH grants an exception. Employees may also be assigned other tasks, if appropriate, during the refusal process.
You can also contact Workplace Safety and Health directly:
Phone: 204-957-SAFE (7233) or 1-855-957-SAFE (7233)
I have to self isolate or quarantine, will I lose my job?
No, under federal law your job is protected for up to 16 weeks if you must miss work because of reasons related to COVID-19. You do not need a doctor’s note but your employer may ask you to write a letter explaining why you are off work.
Can I go on a leave of absence? Will my job be there when I return?
If you need to stay home because of a medical leave or family responsibility you may qualify for unpaid statutory leave.
Employees are always able to request a leave of absence from their employer in accordance with their Collective Agreement. There is currently no legislation in Manitoba that requires employers to grant leave of absence requests in relation to COVID-19, although this may change as many other provinces have passed recent legislation to provide for such leaves.
If your employer grants you a leave of absence they would be required to return you to work after the expiry of the leave, unless there are valid business reasons not to. For example, a legitimate layoff done in accordance with the collective agreement.
Am I entitled to paid leave to get vaccinated?
Yes! In Manitoba, employers are required to allow employees up to three hours of paid leave each time the employee requires a dose of vaccine.
UFCW 832 COVID-19 updates
- Thank you members!
- We need more from our provincial government and employers to protect frontline workers
- UFCW 832 calls for increased health order enforcement
- Labour day: an opportunity to reflect and act
- Faster, together: a campaign to encourage vaccination
- Unprecedented kindness in unprecedented times
- Statement from President Jeff Traeger on a second union member passing away at Exceldor
- President Traeger gives a COVID-19 update to Members
- COVID-19 Update – Monday, August 10, 2020
- Pay Options for Members at Sobeys/Safeway