PSAC to file complaint against hybrid work plan

'Making changes to working conditions while those same issues are at the bargaining table is against the law'

PSAC to file complaint against hybrid work plan

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has announced that it is filing a complaint against the federal government over its move to implement hybrid work arrangement starting next year.

The “statutory freeze complaint” is being filed against the Treasury Board and agencies “for unilaterally imposing changes to our members' working conditions while we're in negotiations for 165,000 federal public service workers," the PSAC said in a statement.

The filing comes as the union is in the middle of pushing for remote work to be included in the next collective agreement, according to the PSAC.

"Making changes to working conditions while those very same issues are at the bargaining table is against the law.”

Hybrid setup already in effect

The Treasury Board's hybrid plan is requiring workers in core public administration to be in the office at least two to three days a week, equivalent to 40 to 60% of their regular weekly schedule.

The policy comes into effect on January 16, before it becomes fully implemented by March 31.

A recent survey found that nine in 10 employers will impose return-to-office schemes by next year, and be incentivising employees’ return for a higher chance of compliance.

But ahead of the implementation set next year, CBC News found that several federal departments are already carrying out a hybrid work in varying degrees in their workplaces.

The Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada said that many of its staff are already working two to three days a week, CBC News reported. The National Defence also said they already have a hybrid arrangement before last summer.

The Department of Finance Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Statistics Canada also revealed that their current setups are aligned with the Treasury Board's instructions.

Other employers will see more changes to their current setup, such as the Correctional Service of Canada, Canadian Heritage, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, according to the CBC report.

Hybrid work plan 'flawed'

The PSAC described the hybrid work plan of the government as "flawed" in separate statements it released following the announcement.

"The federal government's blanket hybrid work plan tramples on workers' collective bargaining rights and forces a flawed, one-size-fits-all approach on a diverse and evolving public service," the union said.

The plan also does not have the best interest of workers at heart, it said.

"It's unacceptable that right before the holidays, workers will be scrambling to make new arrangements for childcare, transportation, and possibly relocating if they've been hired remotely and are now being asked to come into the office… We demand that the government halt their plan."

 

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