The City of Toronto recently reached a contract agreement with two union locals that had been on strike for a little more than a month. There were a number of issues on the table during the strike, but the one that gained the most salience with the media and, therefore, with the public, was the employees’ sick leave benefits.
Before the strike, union members got 18 “bankable”? sick days a year, accumulated at the rate of 1.5 days per month. “Bankable”? means that, if the employees don’t use them, they can accumulate them over the years and then cash in up to six months’ worth on retirement.
Other municipalities had given their workers similar benefits, but most have already gotten rid of it. And the benefit is, at best, rare and, for all I know, possibly nonexistent in the private sector.
In the end, the settlement reached by the union and the City of Toronto allowed existing workers the choice of keeping the old sick day plan or giving up that plan, immediately cashing in a portion of their accumulated sick days and transferring to a short-term disability plan at that point. The short-term disability plan is designed to cover sick employees, if necessary, until they’ve been off long enough to qualify for their long-term disability plan.
The old bankable sick day option will not be available to new employees. They will all go on the short-term disability plan.
After the strike, it came out that employees continued to accumulate both sick days and vacation days while they were on strike. Excuse me? Is that a joke? They were given their normal allotment of sick days and vacation days for the more than a month they refused to work for city.
Huh? Benefits for not working? Sounds sweet. How the hell do I get in on that deal?
I’m 56 years old; I’ve lived in Toronto all my life; and I’ve never worked for the city. By now I should have accumulated enough sick days and vacation days to retire.
Categorised as: Toronto