Ottawa

Federal public servants allowed to take their work home with them

Federal public servants will be allowed to telework wherever possible during the coronavirus pandemic, but must first get permission from their managers, Treasury Board president Jean-Yves Duclos said Friday.

Unions urge government to make provisions for employees who can't telework

Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos. (Raphael Tremblay/CBC)

Federal public servants will be allowed to telework wherever possible during the coronavirus pandemic, but must first get permission from their managers, Treasury Board president Jean-Yves Duclos said Friday.

"Each human resource manager must make the best decision possible, taking into account again that flexibility for teleworking is absolutely essential," said Duclos in an interview with CBC.

In a joint letter, 15 unions representing federal employees called on the government to allow people to work from home during this time of concern over COVID-19. 

"For others whose presence at the workplace is vital to their job, we understand new directives will be sent out," wrote the Professional Institute of the Public Service Canada (PIPSC) in a news release Friday. "Those still attending the work site have been asked to self-monitor closely for any symptoms of the virus." 

'Discretionary leave'

PIPSC has also requested that federal employees who self-isolate and are unable to telework are "granted discretionary leave with pay."

"Such employees should not be forced to use personal leave, sick leave or go without pay if they are otherwise able to work," PIPSC said.

There are concerns that the government's IT system simply won't allow hundreds of thousands of public servants to work from home. That could lead to difficulty connecting to government servers and lost productivity, warned Stéphane Aubry of PIPSC.

"Right now, let's try it, see how it's going to work. We'll make sure the public will receive the best service we can provide," said Magali Picard, vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now