Some Thoughts I have on ASMP

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There is much to be concerned about in regard to the employer’s Attendance Support Management Program. I will use documentation that currently exists and highlight just a few thoughts on concerns that I have and others share.

I encourage everyone with concerns and who is experiencing issues with the ASMP to reach out to your union and ask for help. You are entitled to representation and with the knowledge we have gained by helping others and the experience we have from the different types of issues, it is in my opinion, no doubt best that you do not deal with this matter on your own.

So let me start by sharing some information provided by the employer on ASMP.

A Clear Path to Help Those Who Need It (provided by the employer)

As part of this new approach, the Attendance Support and Management Program (ASMP) will help with the early identification of employees who may need accommodation support.  The program requires employees to meet with their managers to discuss attendance issues so that managers can work with their employees and the CEHSW to provide any necessary accommodations.”

From the ASMP Guide

Each time an employee triggers into a new level, he/she will have a meeting with his/her manager and/or employer representative(s). The purpose of the meeting is to advise the employee that his/her non-culpable absenteeism is a concern and to offer support. It is a proactive step in helping employees overcome difficulties with maintaining regular attendance at work.”

ASMP Guide Pg. 3

It is necessary to differentiate between those persons who are absent due to a disability as defined by the Human Rights Code, and those who are absent due to an illness that would not be considered a disability.”

ASMP Guide Pg. 4

It is important for those who are subject to this process to ask the employer one simple question about this. Why? Why differentiate at all?

If an employee is sick, for whatever reason, then they are sick and should not be, according to medical practitioners, attending at work and possibly making others sick. Persons such as those in their workplace who, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, are entitled to a safe and healthy workplace.

Employees should provide management with medical documentation in a timely manner in order to initiate a discussion about precluding specific absences related to a disability under the Human Rights Code.”

ASMP Guide Pg. 4

In order to be considered, medical documentation must include information sufficient to establish that the employee could not attend work on a particular day or days because he/she was totally unable to perform his/her essential duties on that day as the result of a Human Rights Code-defined disability.”

ASMP Guide Pg. 4

You can see from what the employer has shared above that they are only concerned that you cannot be at work doing your job functions. There is no concern mentioned about how going to work in a manner that is not totally disabled, yet a possible risk to yourself or others is not a good thing.

The ASMP shall be applied in a manner consistent with all associated directives and policies (including the Compensation Directive and Disability Accommodation Policy), collective agreements, Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and any other applicable legislation.”

ASMP Guide Pg. 4

Article 2 – Management Rights, OPSEU Collective Agreement

It is agreed that these rights are subject only to the provisions of this Central Collective Agreement and any other Collective Agreement to which the parties are subject.” (my emphasis)

So the ASMP quote above says that the ASMP will be applied, in accordance with the collective agreements (CA) the employer has with all bargaining agents. The last part of Article 2 from the OPSEU Agreement clearly states that the management rights are bound by or “are subject only to the provisions of this Central Collective Agreement . . .”.

Well, since there is no mention of anything about the ASMP in the CA, what this policy cannot do is change or alter how things are handled as per the collective agreement. This is important because the ASMP clearly states that at level 4 an employee can have their employment terminated if the management is not happy with how things are going. This theoretically can happen in situations where employees have absences of say only 40 to 60 days.

This clearly violates our collective agreement in regard to Article 44 – Short Term Sickness Credits. For this article and all of its subsections and varied paragraphs tells us that we have by right, access to 130 days of Sick Time Credits to use provided that the employer does not “suspect abuse” of the sick time as provided for in 44.10. If there is no concern of abuse, then nothing short of being disciplined (including the ASMP) for another matter, should prevent any employee from using up the full 130 days if they do need them.

The employer speaks of those who will continue to have incidents of illness or chronic medical conditions that take them beyond level 4 as putting them in a situation described as “frustration of contract”. I will clearly state that if anyone has the right to make that claim, it would be the employees who suffer the negative impacts of management decisions with no regard for the provisions of our actual legally binding contract. That contract specifies 130 days are available and if you (management) have concerns and proof of any “abuse” of sick time, use the process described in article 44.10.

Further to this, as the requirement for eligibility for access to LTIP coverage is 6 months of STSP (approximately 120 days) or unpaid sick leave should the employee not have sufficient credits, any action taken under the auspice of the ASMP may also be violating the collective agreement in regard to our LTIP provisions and their application as well.

The Attendance Support and Management Program (ASMP) is intended to provide a non-disciplinary, structured process that assists employees with attendance difficulties due to injury or illness.”

So I will ask the question everyone has about this. If you are innocent of all blame and a victim of circumstance and your absences cannot be pigeonholed in the slots management is describing, if your employment is terminated, through no fault or intent of your own, how can it be considered anything other than disciplinary? It sure as heck does not come across as “supportive”, “cooperative”, “consistent” or “fair”.

I am sure that this process and its potential outcomes certainly is not being shared with those who are applying to work in the OPS. Nor was it disclosed as part of the employer’s submission to be appointed one of the “Top” employers, diversity employers, family friendly employers that we hear so much about.

I would suggest that everyone who has read this and has concerns, speak to their union stewards/executive. Explain the negative impacts that the ASMP process is causing them and together they can make a decision as to how to move forward in regard to those concerns.

Frank Wendling

President, OPSEU Local 468

MOHLTC MERC Team Member

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