On Wednesday, the Winnipeg Sun published an op-ed (“Sick of union entitlement“) that called the attacks on PSAC members’ sick leave “common sense”.
Prairies REVP Marianne Hladun had her own thoughts on the subject and sent the following response to the paper. Her letter was published on July 15, 2014.
Sick leave is the embodiment of the old adage, “plan like a pessimist and live like an optimist”.
It’s an insurance plan for when you’re sick, not a benefit for when you’re healthy. Thanks to sick leave benefits, workers are able to return to work healthy instead of staying at work sick.
Even the the Winnipeg Sun’s full-time employees who have a collective agreement are entitled to ten days of paid sick leave per year.
And so they should be! Workers should not be going to work when they are sick. It impedes recovery, puts co-workers at risk of illness, and undermines our ability to do our jobs. For public service workers, it means also putting the public they serve at risk.
However, if Treasury Board President Tony Clement succeeds with stripping federal public service workers of their sick leave, it sets an alarming trend. It will only be a matter of time before employers across the country follow suit.
Calling sick leave a luxury is as ridiculous as calling house insurance an extravagance. Both are necessary precautions to ensure health, security and safety.
Let’s focus on promoting healthier workplaces and ensuring workers who are sick get the help they need when they need it.
Regional Executive Vice-President, PSAC Prairie Region