Telling Our Stories: Sick Leave

For the second video in our series, PSAC Prairies members share their past experiences using sick leave and how invaluable that benefit was to them and their families when faced with unexpected circumstances. Phrases such as “peace of mind” and “insurance policy” were conveyed as part of the discussion.

“I don’t think there are a lot of employers in the private sector who are just willing to give you the time off,” said Michele Carlier when discussing her personal medical situation, which required a year off work to recover.

Members featured in the video also take exception to the federal government’s unsubstantiated accusations that workers are abusing their sick leave.

“I have worked in many different worksites with many different people and I just do not see abuse of sick leave,” said Barb Kristjansson. “Especially abuse of sick leave like we’re hearing is supposed to be happening.”

Using inflated and inaccurate numbers, Minister Tony Clement has made it clear he is coming for our sick leave in the next round of bargaining. Watch the video below for a reminder of the importance of our sick leave and why we fought so hard to secure that benefit.

What has the government said about our sick leave?

“I’ll declare it to you again that first and foremost on the table from the federal government’s perspective is to deal with the alarming rates of absenteeism in the federal public service.” – Tony Clement, Ottawa Citizen, November 6, 2013.

“We are overhauling an archaic system that does not work for the taxpayer and doesn’t work for the employee.” – Tony Clement, CBC, June 10, 2013.

“Our Government has already reformed federal government pension plans, to ensure that parliamentarians and public servants pay their fair share. It will reform disability and sick-day entitlements and work with employees to get them back to work as soon as possible.” – Speech from the Throne, October 16, 2013

“In addition, the Government will be examining its human resources management practices and institutions in a number of areas, including disability and sick leave management, with a view to ensuring that public servants receive appropriate services that support a timely return to work.” – Economic Action Plan 2013, March 21, 2013

The Prairies Video project was produced with union labour: Road Dog Media, UNIFOR – Canadian Freelance Union Local 2040. It was awarded the  for “Best narrative video, or video series documentary”. View all videos from the series on our YouTube channel.

Like the video? Have a union story of your own? Share your comments and stories with us in the comments section on YouTube.

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