Labour Relations Blog

Labour Relations – Frequently Asked Questions

We receive many recurring questions from the FI Community regarding the collective agreement and your rights in the workplace. Therefore, we’ve provided answers below to some of the most common and straightforward questions we receive. If you’re ever in doubt about your personal case regarding the situations below, please don’t hesitate to contact us at labourrelations@acfo-acaf.com or by calling 1-877-728-0695 and the first available Labour Relations Advisor will be happy to assist you.

1. Can the employer change my work hours?

Yes, the employer can modify your hours of work as long as they respect the parameters set out in the FI Collective Agreement (Article 18.01 – hours of work between 7am – 6pm). That being said, if you require some form of accommodation, you should contact your manager and reach out to Labour Relations to ensure that your rights are respected.

2. Can I skip my breaks or lunch and leave earlier?

No, you cannot take your breaks and/or lunch at the beginning or end of your work day to shorten your work day.

Employees have the right to take a 15-minute break in the morning portion of their work day and a 15-minute break in the afternoon. The timing of the break can be flexible but is not intended to be taken at the start or end of your work day. Lunch is intended to be taken in the middle of the work day to allow the employee time to eat and rest.

3. Can I refuse to do overtime?

Technically no, you cannot refuse. However, management should give you ample notice when overtime is required. If, for some reason, you are unable to work the overtime on a specific day given particular circumstances, you should communicate with your manager as soon as possible in order to find a beneficial solution for everyone.

If overtime becomes excessive or if it seems like you’re taking the burden of working most of the overtime in your unit, it’s important that you reach out to us, as the collective agreement clearly states that the employer will avoid excessive overtime and allocate overtime equitably to readily available employees (Article 19.01).

4. Can the employer change my duties or move me to another team if I have done nothing wrong?

The employer can modify your duties, or, in the case of a reorganization, move you to another team so long as they respect the parameters of your work description.

5. Can the employer change my work location to a different city?

Unfortunately, yes, the employer may relocate your position. If an employee’s work location changes to a different city, the employee will be given the option of moving to the new work location or going through the Work Force Adjustment process.

6. Can I take family related leave to care for someone that is not my immediate family but lives with me?

According to Article 36.02 of the collective agreement, you can take leave under this heading for any relatives, as defined by the collective agreement, that permanently resides with you or with whom you reside. It cannot, however, be taken for the purpose of caring for a roommate or friend.

7. If I take family-related leave, does the employer have the right to ask for more details?

Leave with pay for family related reasons is covered under Article 37 of the collective agreement. You do not need to give full details as to the reason for your leave request, but sufficient information should be given for the manager to confirm that the leave request respects the parameters as they are set out under that article, which are:

  • to take a family member for medical/dental appointments, or for appointments with school authorities or adoption agencies;
  • immediate and temporary care of a sick family member until alternate arrangements can be made;
  • immediate and temporary care of an elderly family member;
  • related to birth or the adoption of a child;
  • to attend school functions;
  • unforeseen school or daycare closures; and
  • 7.5 hours for a legal, financial or other professional representative.

8. What are some conditions of Treasury Board’s telework policy?

Treasury Board’s Telework Policy dictates under what circumstances employees may enter into a telework arrangement.  In order to successfully enter into such an arrangement, it will require that:

  • the work be operationally feasible;
  • the quality and quantity of work can be sustained;
  • the work done at the telework location be cost effective;
  • official language requirements are not compromised;
  • the terms and conditions of employment, provisions of the relevant collective agreement and application of existing policies and legislation be maintained;
  • details of the arrangement be agreed upon in writing between the employee and supervisor; and
  • both parties can terminate the telework arrangement at any time with reasonable notice.

It is important to note, however, that employees in need of accommodation measures pursuant to one of the prohibited grounds established by the Canadian Human Rights Act may be entitled to telework arrangements that differs from what is provided in TBS’ Policy. Should you required any type of accommodation, including a form of telework, please contact Labour Relations to ensure that your rights are respected.

9. Does the employer have the right to deny an assignment or secondment?

The employer can indeed deny assignments and secondments. Unlike deployments, which are staffing actions, assignments and secondments are temporary lateral moves requiring approval of your employer since you continue to be the incumbent of your substantive position.

10. When accepting a deployment, how many weeks’ notice do I have to give?

Technically, you are not required to provide any notice. However, as a best practice, you should provide at least two weeks’ notice.

11. Can I refuse to work because I’m not receiving my pay due to Phoenix issues?

No, you cannot refuse to work because you aren’t receiving your pay. You risk disciplinary measures if you do.

12. Do I have to use sick leave for a routine medical appointment?

No. The Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements allows for time off work with pay for routine or periodic check-ups, normally limited to appointments of a preventative nature, such as an annual physical, dental check-up and/or eye exam. A full-time employee is entitled to a maximum of 3.75 hours for attending such appointments. Time off work with pay should not, however, be for the treatment of a specific complaint or condition.

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