Federal Union Raises Concerns Over Extended Office Hours – Find Out Why!

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Federal union filing complaints about increase to office time



“The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is taking a stand against the federal government’s decision to mandate a return to offices for public servants at least three days a week in September, claiming that it violates collective agreements.

The government’s directive, effective September 9, requires all public servants, with few exceptions, to be physically present in the office for three days a week. This marks an increase from the current rules, which vary by department but generally require employees to be in the office for either two or three days a week.

The Treasury Board stated that the policy update aims to “maximize the benefits of workplace presence and bring greater fairness and consistency to hybrid work.” While the directive still allows most public servants to work from home for up to two days, PSAC, along with other unions, has taken issue with the change.

## Challenging the New Rule

PSAC has lodged formal complaints with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board, alleging that the Treasury Board did not bargain in good faith and that the government’s unilateral decision undermines the union’s reputation. The coalition of unions, including PSAC, plans to challenge the three-days-a-week rule in a news conference.

The essence of PSAC’s complaint is that the new rule contradicts the agreements made during last spring’s negotiations, where managers were required to assess remote work requests on an individual basis. PSAC believes that changing the rule without consulting the union breaches the collective bargaining rights of workers.

## Individualized Accommodations at Stake

One of the affected individuals, Tanya King, a public servant at Public Services and Procurement Canada who identifies as autistic and transgender, has expressed concerns about the impact of the new rule. She has experienced harassment and microaggressions in the office and has requested full-time remote work due to medical reasons.

King’s worries extend to the potential decrease in productivity that could result from increased time in the office. She believes that the limited capacity and availability of workspaces could hamper employees’ efficiency and lead to wasted time searching for suitable workspaces.

As the government stands firm on its decision, legal action may be the next step for PSAC and affected workers. This could force the government to reconsider the three-days-a-week policy and address concerns related to workspace accommodations and parking availability.

As the debate continues between the public sector union and the government, the question remains: how can workplace policies balance the needs of employees for flexibility and safety with the operational requirements of a productive workforce?”



Reference

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