Human Resources

Is our CIUSSS aware of the pressure that nurses face? How is their mental health taken into consideration, and is there psychological support for nurses?

Answer

Safeguarding mental health of nurses and preventing psychological distress among all employees is a priority for our CIUSSS. The Human Resources team, in collaboration with the Mental Health and Addiction team, has set up a psychological support hotline for staff, which complements the services of the Employee Assistance Program. Managers also remain very attentive to signs of distress, and they direct employees to a variety of resources.

The confidential hotline supports those who are having problems during this difficult period and who feel they need someone to turn to. Just call 514-265-6588 or 514-266-2529 if you need support during this trying time. The line is managed by professionals, including psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.

As of Monday, April 13, the service will be available Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If your call cannot be taken immediately, please leave a message with your name and contact information. You will be called back within 24 hours, except on weekends. For more information, please contact Dominique Pelletier, Head of Attendance Management, at  dpelletier@jgh.mcgill.ca.

You can also call the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-361-2433, 24 hours a day. If you have already used your four annual EAP sessions, you can request additional sessions.

 

What are the protocols for putting personnel in quarantine?

One of my colleagues came to work and informed us that his significant other was awaiting tests results. Should all of the personnel with whom he interacted in the past few days be under quarantine as a precaution?

Answer

When a patient or employee tests positive for COVID-19, an investigation is conducted to determine whether that person came into close contact with anyone else. In such cases, the appropriate measures are taken, in compliance with the public health protocols of the Government of Quebec.

In your particular circumstance, we advise you and your colleagues to call the COVID-19 hotline for CIUSSS West-Central employees at 514-731-7343. Please leave a message, and a nurse will contact you to assess your situation, including the need for home isolation or a test at the Jewish General Hospital’s COVID-19 screening clinic. The professionals who manage the hotline will let you know whether you should be quarantined at home for a specific period. Clinic hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends.

 

My department was informed by our manager that we cannot work from home. However, several times a day, I notice that we are unable to practice proper physical distancing

My department was informed by our manager that we cannot work from home. However, several times a day, I notice that we are unable to practice proper physical distancing, because of the way are offices are designed. Under the circumstances, can we work from home to protect ourselves and the other personnel?

Answer

Your first step should be to speak with your manager about what you have observed. Managers are doing their best to ensure that the social distancing guidelines are implemented and respected in the workplace. Afterwards, if you still have concerns, you can contact the Health, Safety and Wellness in the Workplace team at  prevention.sst.ccomtl@ssss.gouv.qc.ca. Please be sure to attach a photo of the problem area(s).

Some employees are unable to work from home. This makes me wonder who is eligible to work remotely.

What are the criteria for allowing someone to have access to workplace materials at home? I understand that a priority exists for those who want to work from home, but some of us are becoming somewhat worried about entering and leaving the hospital, even though we do not really come into contact with patients.

Answer

Managers determine who can work from home, based on the nature of the job, as well as the availability of the proper tools, equipment and the remote access that is needed to adequately carry out one’s responsibilities. We are in the process of collaborating with IT and Digital Health to maximize the number of eligible employees with remote access.

In some cases, employees will still need to come to work, due to the nature of their job, as well as the limitations of remote access for certain tasks. We encourage you to speak with your manager to determine whether any work-from-home arrangements can be made, perhaps even on a partial basis.

Please keep in mind that although we can certainly understand your preference for working remotely, the decision must not be allowed to have a negative effect on patient care. Therefore, the decision is entirely at the discretion of your manager. Many of our patients are extremely vulnerable and they depend on our services, now more than ever.

How many members of staff have tested positive for COVID-19, and in which CIUSSS facilities?

Answer

There are daily changes in the number of employees who are confirmed to have COVID-19. Although several of our CIUSSS’s directorates and departments have been affected, the percentage of infected employees is relatively low, compared with active community transmission of the virus.

Unfortunately, in the interests of patient confidentiality, our answer cannot be more specific. However, rest assured that any employee who may have come into close contact with a COVID-positive patient or colleague will be informed of the appropriate precautionary measures to take.

If a co-worker has tested positive, do I have the right to know who it is?

Answer

Whenever a staff member or patient tests positive for COVID-19, a meticulous assessment is undertaken to identify all potential at-risk contacts with that individual, as well as their probable level of exposure to the virus. COVID-19 hotline staff, in collaboration with your manager, are extremely diligent in this screening process and are committed to ensuring everyone’s safety. Hotline staff will contact you directly if they have any significant information for you in this regard.

Of course, if your work involves treating patients with COVID-19, you will be informed of their condition. However, if a colleague has contracted the virus, you will simply be notified of a general exposure risk, without confirmation of the affected employee’s identity. Rest assured that we can still spread the word promptly about any relevant issue in your area, without having to compromise confidentiality. Even during a crisis, it is still necessary to ensure that private medical information remains private. This is what any of us would expect for ourselves, if we were being treated.

Since my son is no longer in school, would it possible for me to have a four-day work week to give my grandparents a break from looking after him?

I work full-time and every other weekend. Can anything be done to help me?

Answer

The Ministry of Families has arranged emergency child care services for healthcare employees and other essential workers. For more information on how to register,  please visit quebec.ca.

To protect my family, I have decided to rent an apartment near work, rather than travel by public transit.

The Premier has announced that staff have this option, as long as it is work-related. Whom do I contact to request compensation?

Answer

The process for employees to request access to a hotel room is in place, and managers are aware of it. Please speak with your manager, who will follow up on your behalf.

However, it should be noted that only certain hotel rooms qualify and these have already been designated by the Ministry or by our CIUSSS. As such, reimbursement cannot be made for expenses for any other form of accommodation. Employees who want to apply for the permitted accommodations should speak with their manager.

Finally, please remember that using public transit is still acceptable, as long as you practice social distancing, wash your hands as often as possible, keep antibacterial gel with you, and avoid touching your face.

Is there a test for a person who wants to confirm whether they have already had the virus, but were not aware of it because they had no symptoms?

Answer

The provincial public health authority is giving priority in testing to patients who are ill, as well as to people who have symptoms and might need to be isolated to prevent the spread of the virus. At present, there is not enough data to support the use of a test to rule out COVID-19 in people who have no symptoms, since this form of testing might yield a false negative result.

Danielle McCann, the Health and Social Services Minister, recently announced that members of healthcare staff who work with seniors should stay in a hotel and be reimbursed by the government. What is the latest on this subject?

Answer

All CIUSSS directors have been informed of the process that employees must follow to a request a hotel room. Please discuss this with your manager, who will follow up.

It should also be noted that only the hotel rooms that have already been designated by the Ministry or by our CIUSSS qualify for compensation. Therefore, the CIUSSS is unable to refund any other lodging expenses. Employees who are interested in applying for access to a hotel room should speak with their managers.

I have a chronic illness that regularly leaves me with flu-like symptoms

(such as a cough and intermittent fever). Might I get in trouble for showing up to work with one or more of these symptoms?

Answer

Please be extremely vigilant in monitoring your condition. As long as your symptoms do not fluctuate beyond what you describe, you can continue to come to work.

However, if you notice any changes to your typical symptoms, contact the employee COVID-19 screening hotline at 514-731-7343 to ensure that you are taking all of the necessary precautions to keep yourself and your colleagues safe.

I have three weeks of vacation coming to me, but I had to postpone taking them, because I work in Infection Prevention and Control.

Can I take my vacation later—perhaps in summer? How does our vacation policy function under the current circumstances?

Answer

According to a ministerial order, when vacation time is cancelled, half of your accumulated time is paid to you at the regular rate. The remaining half of your vacation time can be paid to your or postponed, as you prefer. Your vacation dates must continue to be approved by your manager and are subject to the needs of your department.

My husband and I work nights. Since the daycare centre in my area does not open until 7:00 a.m., who can look after my kids (both under the age of 6)?

Since we do not live on the Island of Montreal, we need a fair amount of time to travel to work.

Answer

Given your situation, you are encouraged to speak with your manager to determine whether any special arrangements can be made to accommodate you. Your manager will assess your request and will try to come up with a flexible solution, while ensuring that your department continues to run smoothly.

Is the CIUSSS still filling posted positions?

If so, will successful candidates be able to start immediately or must they wait for things to get back to normal?

Answer

Wherever possible, our intention is to maintain the regular process of posting and filling positions. However, given our exceptional circumstances, some delays are inevitable, especially with respect to starting dates or transfers between departments. For example, if a care unit is not ready for a new employee, or if a unit needs to retain an existing employee for a longer period to maintain an adequate level of service, the timing of the transfer will have to be adjusted.

I'm a nurse who works in Intensive Care at the JGH. My husband, also a nurse, has had contact with a COVID-positive patient, but was not wearing protective equipment at the time

As a result, he was quarantined at home for 14 days. I called my workplace about this on the first day of the quarantine and I was told to continue working. It has now been determined that my husband is not infected. Does this mean I can also continue to work? I have no symptoms, which is why I have not yet been tested.

Answer

We advise you to call the COVID hotline for CIUSSS employees at 514-731-7343. Please leave a message, and a nurse will contact you to assess your situation, including the possible need for isolation at home or a test at the JGH’s COVID-19 screening clinic. If you need to be quarantined at home for a specific period of time, the hotline professionals will provide the details. Clinic hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends.

I’m a Registered Nurse and I was transferred from a Surgery floor to help in Intensive Care. Does this mean I will receive a bonus of 8% for working with COVID-19 patients?

Answer

You are eligible for the premium that applies to the unit to which you are transferred. In the ICU, you will receive the premium of 8% for any regular or overtime hours that you work during the current crisis.

Since we provide essential services, will we receive the 4% bonus that has been described by the government?

Answer

Yes, a 4% bonus will be paid to employees who work (including teleworking) in a sector that is not already covered by the 8% bonus. Please note that premiums are applied only to regular or overtime hours of actual work, and not to absences, regardless of their cause (disability, isolation, etc.).

How long does it take for a person to be contacted with the results of a COVID-19 test?

Are positive results reported more quickly than negative results?

Answer

It takes 24 to 48 hours to receive all test results, whether positive or negative. A nurse from the COVID-19 screening clinic contacts the employee with these results. If necessary, a nurse from the Health, Safety and Wellness in the Workplace team will be in touch about follow-ups.

When part-time employees (e.g., administrative agents) need to take time off work to get tested for COVID-19, is that time paid or unpaid?

April 22, 2020

Answer

Time off for COVID-19 testing entitles you to receive the same salary as working your scheduled shift.

Since I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, a note from my rheumatologist says my condition prevents me from returning to work in the Emergency Department.

Can my employer ignore this medical diagnosis, especially when my specialist says I should be reassigned?

April 22, 2020

Answer

An answer about your specific circumstances cannot be provided here, but you are invited to contact the Health, Safety and Wellness in the Workplace team for assessment and review. This team of competent, qualified professionals works closely with an advising doctor to evaluate each case and provide appropriate safety recommendations, as needed. Given the complexity and unique nature of each person’s situation, the team members take care to thoroughly consider all of the relevant details in the medical file, while ensuring that ministry guidelines are strictly enforced. Each decision by this team is the result of careful review and a meticulous assessment of the available medical information, supported by the advising doctor.

Since the well-being of our staff is our Number 1 priority, all medical files are treated with the utmost care, attention and consideration for our employees’ health and safety. Although we understand why you feel heightened concern about your condition during the current crisis, we would like to reassure you that the Health, Safety and Wellness in the Workplace team considers all relevant information in reaching a conclusion.

Every day, when we come to work at the hospital, we risk becoming contaminated. Why doesn’t this entitle us to compensation? Why are we being taken for granted?

April 22, 2020

Answer

First, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for the dedication of our staff! Your extraordinary professionalism is evident every time you come to work. In the face of a daunting challenge, you have remained strong, dedicated and hard-working. You have earned our admiration and appreciation for everything you do.

According to the ministerial statement of April 4, 2020, staff are eligible for one of the following two types of premiums for all of their regular and overtime hours, for as long as the health emergency lasts: 

  • A critical-care premium of 8% for staff who complete their working hours after being assigned to:
    • the Emergency Department (excluding Emergency Psychiatry)
    • the Intensive Care Unit (excluding ICU Psychiatry)
    • clinics dedicated to screening and diagnosing COVID-19
    • units designated by the CIUSSS to treat COVID-19-positive patients
    • residential units of long-term care facilities
    • other residential units where at least one COVID-19 case has been diagnosed
    • Pulmonary Medicine units
  • All other salaried employees in categories 1 through 4, plus middle managers, are eligible to a 4% premium on hours worked.

Thank you again for your unwavering commitment to our patients, residents and clients. They need us now, more than ever.

I’m a PAB at Julius Richardson Hospital, and after travelling to the Philippines to visit family, I was placed in lockdown there.

 I was supposed to go back to work on March 20, but was unable to return to Canada. Am I eligible for salary insurance?

April 22, 2020

Answer

Based on your description, you do not qualify for salary insurance. However, various federal programs are helping Canadians who are affected by COVID-19 and need emergency funds. The information below outlines these benefits, which may provide you with temporary government assistance.

COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad

This temporary financial assistance is meant for Canadians who are stranded abroad because of COVID-19. Qualified applicants are eligible for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help them return to Canada and cover any short-term needs. For  more information.

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit for Canadians Residing in Canada

This temporary benefit of $500 per week is available to Canadians who:

  • reside in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • have stopped working because of COVID-19, or are eligible for Employment Insurance, regular benefits or sickness benefits
  • had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
  • are (or expect to be) without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days during the first four-week period. For later benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.

For more information on the CERB, visit  canada.ca. You can also speak with a Canada Revenue Agency agent, at 1-800-959-8281, about this type of financial assistance.

Since you are outside the country, we strongly advise you to verify your travel insurance coverage. We also suggest that you consult the following government websites, which may be helpful while you arrange your return to Canada: 

Finally, given your circumstances, you may want to speak with Client Services about the possibility of a deferred leave. Please contact Thérèse Beaulieu ( therese_beaulieu@ssss.gouv.qc.ca) or Jinny Chow ( jinny.chow.ccomtl@ssss.gouv.qc.ca) for any questions on this subject, but only while the pandemic lasts. 

If someone has asthma, should they be working?

April 23, 2020

Answer

People with moderate to severe asthma are at increased risk for a severe COVID-19 infection. You should discuss this matter with your own doctor, who has a better idea of how severe your asthma is and which medications you are taking.

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