Topics covered in this memo: TEAM President, The new Collective Agreement, Time off for managers of craft employees, AIP results - do you have concerns, Sick leave medical form, Employee survey, Flexible work arrangements, Overtime and shift changes, IFPTE scholarship reminder, and Defined benefit pension plan commuted value - risks to consider.
TEAM President: Misty Hughes-Newman, as of Friday TEAM’s former President, asked us to pass along her thanks for the many emails of congratulations and best wishes on her retirement.
In accordance with TEAM Bylaw 13.3, our Vice-President, Mike Taylor, shall assume the duties of the President until the next election. Mike joined the TEAM Board in December 2010 and has participated in three rounds of contract negotiations with the Company. Mike has worked in TV/Marketing and is now working in Sales.
Know Your Rights: The online version of the TEAM Collective Agreement is now available. Click here and bookmark the link for easy reference.
It is worth remembering that the rules laid out in the Collective Agreement were agreed to by Bell senior management, and where Company policies or practices are in conflict with the Collective Agreement, (except where the wording in the policy is Canadian law/labour law), the wording in of the Collective Agreement takes precedence.
Shortcuts to some popular topics:
The production of the printed handbook is currently on-hold while we attempt to resolve the definition of our bargaining unit with the Company (Article 1.01).
Paid Time-off Entitlements for Managers of Craft employees: We encourage members whose regular workday is eight hours duration to double-check that their recorded allotments for paid time off, i.e. vacation days, sick leave days, PLDs, and Floater, in the system accurately reflect the longer workday of 7.85 hrs vs. 7.5 hrs. If you notice a discrepancy, please contact the Human Resources Consultant for your area or the TEAM office for assistance.
AIP Results: If you have concerns about your AIP result based on your PMP assessment, please contact the TEAM office as soon as possible to discuss options to address your concerns.
Sick Leave and Employee Medical Information: As a result of a settlement of a TEAM Policy grievance, TEAM members no longer need to submit BC Form 1935 to substantiate their absence and access their accrued paid sick days. TEAM filed the grievance to protect our members’ personal medical information and remove the discretion of Manulife’s agents as to whether or not our members deserve to receive their sick pay.
TEAM members on sick leave for seven or more calendar days are now only required to provide the information requested on Form 1109 (sample form), until the point of transitioning to LTD. Additional information may be requested where the information on Form 1109 is incomplete or unclear.
The sick leave process can be a source of uncertainty and stress, especially for those who already find themselves in a difficult place. We therefore encourage members who are initiating sick leaves, especially in cases dealing with non-physical injuries or illnesses, to feel free to contact TEAM for assistance in navigating the process.
Bell Employee Survey: A number of members in different areas have reported feeling pressured, or at least, strongly encouraged to provide only favourable responses/ratings to questions on the upcoming employee survey. Consequently, some members are asking whether they should answer the survey questions honestly. From TEAM’s perspective, an employee survey can be an effective tool for an organization to better understand how their employees think and feel about their immediate work environment and also the performance of the organization and the employer as a whole.
Honest feedback provides opportunities for an organization to improve by identifying or highlighting areas of concern or practices that are not working. TEAM believes such honest feedback is crucial to achieving change for the better in these areas. Put another way, if based on the survey results, the decision-makers at the top think everything is great, then there is no need to implement any changes. If things are good and/or improving it is fair to provide favourable ratings, and of course, vice versa.
Flexible Work Arrangements: Under recent changes to the Canada Labour Code, employees now have the right to request flexible work arrangements from their employers. The changes apply 1) to employees after six months of continuous employment, and 2) to flexible work requests for changes to an employee’s number of work hours, work schedule, and work location.
Employers have 30 days in which to respond to written requests, and requests may be denied for one or more of the reasons specified in the legislation.
Bell has released a Flexible Work policy which provides details for employees interested in pursuing a flexible work arrangement, including a guide for leaders to aid interpreting the new policy. The policy and Leader’s Guide can be found on BellNet.
Overtime and Shift Changes in IS and NS: We are receiving a growing number of concerns and questions from members in IS and NS about changes regarding overtime and planned work that needs to be completed outside of the regular workday. Up to this point we have been responding on an individual basis to the questions and concerns while we investigate the situation more thoroughly and provide a comprehensive position on the matter. We apologize for the delay, especially to those members who have been waiting for such communication. We are in the process of wrapping up our investigation and will have something to you as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we can tell you that TEAM has discussed the issues with representatives from both Human Resources and Labour Relations, and have received assurances that the Company will comply with the Collective Agreement with regards to both overtime and shift changes for employees required to perform work required to be completed after regular business hours, i.e. between 6:00 pm and 7:00 am.
Specifically, it was acknowledged that split shifts are not allowed. They are harmful to employee work-life balance and their health. Also, requiring employees to agree to a 1:1 swap time arrangement to perform after hours work, for which they would otherwise be entitled to receive overtime, is a violation of our Collective Agreement.
To save dollars, the Company has indicated its intent to initiate schedule changes in lieu of approving overtime. In a number of areas this move has been made under the cynical guise of trying to improve employees’ work-life balance; reducing the number of overtime hours worked, while messing up the employee’s entire day. The Company has the right to initiate both shift and schedule changes as defined in the Collective Agreement, but it should be done when it is appropriate to do so, and with the knowledge that the change impacts the entire workday, i.e. no split shifts, so an employee working through the night to avoid a few hours of overtime pay, will not be available during the day.
If you have been required to perform planned after hours work on a 1:1 swap time arrangement since September 20, 2019 and would like TEAM to pursue on your behalf, appropriate compensation for the work you performed, please contact the TEAM office and provide the following details:- Your name
IFPTE Scholarship Reminder: Applications for the IFPTE Dominick D. Critelli, Jr. Scholarships must be postmarked on or before March 15, 2020. The scholarship awards are $2,500 USD each to children or grandchildren of IFPTE members who wish to continue their education beyond high school. Details of the scholarships, eligibility criteria and application form can be found here.
Defined Benefit Pension Plan Commuted Value: Occasionally, members in the Defined Benefit Pension Plan call the office to discuss the option of “cashing out” their pension, also known as taking the commuted value. A recent blog post, Bad advice could cost you your retirement, is well worth reading by anyone who is considering taking their commuted value. As with all significant pension or investment related matters, we recommend members consult with a qualified independent financial advisor.