FAQ: Covid-19 (coronavirus)

Welcome to the SEIU-West COVID-19 FAQ page. At this page, you will find answers to common questions SEIU-West members have during this pandemic. We will be updating this information regularly as information is provided.

Have a question you’d like answered? Be sure to contact the Member Resource Centre (MRC) by phone at 1.888.999.7348 ext. 2298 (province-wide) or use our online contact form

 

I work for the SHA, how are my vacation requests being handled during COVID-19?

Please refer to this SHA/SEIU-West memo that was updated March 24, 2020. 

I have to go to work but with the schools closed, what can I do about child care?

The government of Saskatchewan has published information about child care and eligibility - click this link to learn more
For information on how to apply for a child care space, click this link.

I'm struggling with my mental health during COVID-19, do you have any resources?

SEIU-West has developed a Mental Health Support During COVID-19 page in order to reassure you that you’re not alone, and that there are many resources that can help you during this challenging time. 

I work for the SHA and I hear the SHA is expanding their broadcast system to share urgent COVID-19 updates to staff – how do I sign up?

The SHA is expanding their broadcast system to the entire province. It will be used to share urgent COVID-19 updates to staff. To make sure that you are getting the information you need, please go to www.mygatewayonline.com if your workplace is in one of the following former health regions: Saskatoon Health Region, Cypress Health Region, Five Hills Health Region, or Heartland Health Region. Be sure to check that your contact information is correct, and please share this information with your SHA coworkers. They began test broadcasts the week of March 23, 2020 so if you did not receive messaging, please follow the steps to update your information.

What supports are there for workers during COVID-19?

SEIU-West has put together a list of COVID-19 resources that may be useful for you. Click on this link to learn more. 

My employer has told me I’m being laid off. Now what?

Your collective bargaining agreement (CBA) may have language about what the employer must do to ensure proper process in laying off workers, and what income supports you may be entitled to.  You can find your CBA here (scroll down to find your workplace), or call the MRC at 1-888-999-7348 ext 1 for more information.

You may be eligible to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, and there may be other income supports you can access. There’s information and a list of useful links to such federal and provincial programs here. That link also has information about supports you can access if you aren’t able to work because you’re sick, or if you’re forced to self-isolate.

If I contract COVID-19 at work, do I receive WCB or do I have to use my sick time?

If you contract COVID-19 at work, the process would be to apply for WCB (Workers Compensation Board) and have your claim adjudicated by them.  If they deny your claim, please contact your SEIU-West Member Resource Centre (MRC) for advice on next steps. Contact the MRC through our website https://www.seiuwest.ca/contact or by phone 1-888-999-7348 ext. 2298.

What is the PPE protocol and do I have the right to refuse if I’m not provided proper PPE, told when I need to use precautions or feel I’m in an unsafe situation?

If you have a situation that requires a specific piece of PPE and has always required it, you need to continue practicing the same protocol as always. This would include gowning, gloving, or masking protocols appropriate to COVID19 or any other officially verified or officially presumed risk.  If there is a barrier to your ability to access this PPE, you need to report to your manager that you can’t and won’t do the work without the appropriate PPE.  If you are not then provided the necessary PPE, you need to advise your manager that you are formally refusing to do the work further to the right to refuse work of an unusually dangerous nature to yourself or others.   This will trigger the process involving assessment by your site OH&S committee and others, to ensure your work is made safe before you are required to perform it.

Can I self-isolate because I am immunocompromised or have family members that are immunocompromised?

Before engaging in this process, contact the MRC through our website https://www.seiuwest.ca/contact or by phone 1-888-999-7348 ext. 2298. You certainly have the ability to submit documentation to your Employer to support a request for absence from the workplace, however the Employer would then need to work through their formal process to determine what mechanism would be utilized to grant you that time away, and what sorts of income supports you would then have access to. In the meantime, you may need to access some form of pressing necessity leave until the formalities could be worked out.   

What should I do if I can’t access childcare for my children who are out of school or I can’t afford it?

Before engaging in this process, contact the MRC through our website https://www.seiuwest.ca/contact or by phone 1-888-999-7348 ext. 2298. You should submit documentation to your Employer verifying your inability to access childcare, and they would then need to work through their formal process to determine what mechanism would be utilized to grant you that time away, and what sorts of income supports you would then have access to.  In the meantime, you may need to access some form of pressing necessity leave until the formalities could be worked out.  

I work for the SHA and I don’t need my approved vacation now because I can’t travel anyway. Can I cancel it?

For SHA, we have verbal mutual agreement between the parties that all vacation cancellation requests will be considered on the basis of operational ability to cancel, and where there would be no harm to any member, the vacation would be cancelled. Harm to a member that may block the cancellation would include such things as another member being guaranteed hours to back-fill the original vacation period. 

I understand there are child care centres available to critical workers, where are these centres located?

The Government of Saskatchewan has provided a list here. We will update this information as we receive it.