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COVID-19 Health Guidelines for Supervisors

This page is for leaders and employment supervisors to address key questions regarding COVID-19 health guidelines.

What to do when...

In addition to the instructions below, see also the COVID-19 FAQ for Chairs and Employment Supervisors of Faculty and Staff.

Step-by-step guides for reporting of positive COVID-19 cases:

For additional support, contact Employee Health Services.

When an individual completes the recommended Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment tool, they will be advised to self-isolate or isolate in various circumstances.  Employees may also be directed by public health to self-isolate or quarantine directly, based on identified potential exposure for individuals. Workplace guidance for these situations are provided below:

  1. Remote Work – Employees who are required to isolate in accordance with Public Health guidelines should speak with their supervisors about the ability to work remotely as a first step. Supervisors are encouraged to enable this where there is work available that can be completed remotely during some or all of the isolation period.

Reminder: If an employee is ill / symptomatic and unable to work, they should instead follow their normal absence reporting protocols with their supervisor, and utilize available sick leave / salary continuance / disability benefits.

  1. Use of Available Paid Time – Employees who are directed to isolate and are unable to work remotely, may elect to use available paid time (vacation, compensating time off, lieu days, personal days etc.). Paid leave eligibility and amounts are defined within relevant collective agreements, or terms and conditions of employment. If an employee has questions about availability of paid time, please speak with your supervisor or contact hr.mcmaster@mcmaster.ca
  1. Job Protected Leave – Employees who are unable to work remotely and do not elect to use (or do not have access to) paid time, will be deemed to be on an unpaid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”) for any required isolation period.

Leaves of 1 Month (30 Days) or Less

    • Employees are to complete the Leave of Absence (LOA) Request Form for all leaves of this nature. This form may be completed by the employee or by the supervisor or administrative support on behalf of the employee. The completed form, or any questions, should be submitted to hr.mcmaster@mcmaster.ca as soon as possible.
    • For leaves of absence less than or equal to one month in duration, unless otherwise requested by the employee, it will be assumed employee benefits and pension / GRRSP plan coverage will continue and any outstanding applicable premiums will be deducted on the employee’s first pay deposit upon return to work. Any supervisor or department lead who may complete the LOA Request Form on behalf of the employee must inform the employee of these benefit and premium implications.
      • The Payroll Calendar and other related information can be found on the Payroll & Tax website. Note the delay in submitting the leave request after the payroll cut-off date will generate the overpayment and other possible pay and benefits implications.
      • Employees can inform the Human Resources Operations (HRSC) if they would like to cease benefits and pension entitlements for the duration of the leave. Please contact hr.mcmaster@mcmaster.ca
    • For any interruption in earning of 5 days or more, a Record of Employment will be generated for an employee and uploaded to their Service Canada Account.

Leaves Greater Than 1 month (30 days)

    • Employees may request an IDEL for numerous reasons, as outlined. In some cases employees may need to request an IDEL for an extended duration, which may be known to exceed 30 days, or details of duration may not be fully known.
    • Employees are to complete the Leave of Absence (LOA) Request Form for all leaves of this nature. This may be completed by the employee or by the supervisor or administrative support on behalf of the employee. The completed form, or any questions, must be submitted to hr.mcmaster@mcmaster.ca as soon as possible.
    • Human Resources will contact the employee and provide a letter informing the employee of options relating to their benefits / pension / GRRSP contributions during this time. Employees have the option of whether to continue these through contributions for both the employee and University portions over the duration of the leave.

Return from Leaves

    • When an employee is ready to return from their leave, whatever the duration, the HR Operations (HRSC) must be notified immediately of the date of return in order to begin reactivation of the employee record prior to the payroll cut off deadline for the respective pay period when employee starts receiving the pay. Delays in notification can lead to delays in pay for the employee. Supervisors or administrators are asked to email hr.mcmaster@mcmaster.ca immediately to support initiation of employee return.

External Federal Benefits Eligibility

More details on entitlements and eligibility can be found on the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website

Beyond workplace flexibility, which continues to be encouraged and supported by the university, employees may request accommodation – for example: due to disability or family status.

Leaders are encouraged to first have an open and supportive discussion with the employee to understand what temporary accommodations may be needed during this time, and to consider what is operationally feasible to meet these needs.

Consider the following documents:

Contact your Employee Health Services Specialist for support with accommodations that are required beyond 6 months, are complex in nature, or if remote work is not available and accommodation in the physical work environment has been requested.

Contact your Employee / Labour Relations Advisor or Human Resources Business Partner for support if you have questions regarding Family Status Accommodation requests that are complex in nature or for an extended period of time.

Depending on the circumstances, the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave may also be an appropriate option available to employees.

If you require support in working through this request, please contact Employee & Labour Relations or Employee Health Services.