Parental Leave Grievance: Final Resolution!

Parental Leave Grievance: Final Resolution!
In February 2011 the STA filed a grievance alleging that the School District’s failure to provide 15 weeks of Supplemental Employment Benefits (SEB) in respect of EI parental benefits to birth mothers was discriminatory (see Collective Agreement article G.21.4.e.iii). In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada determined that it was indeed discriminatory to deny birth mothers access to this EI top up.

On May 19, 2016, after over five years since the grievance was first filed, a resolution has been reached in the form of a consent award. While the union would have wished for the award to go back to the date the grievance was first filed, the arbitrator, John Hall, assisted the two parties to negotiate a settlement that will take effect immediately. All parents (including birth mothers who were previously denied access) will now have access to SEB parental leave benefits of 8 weeks starting July 1, 2015. This means all mothers taking the parental leave as of July 1, 2015 will now be getting the parental SEB as negotiated.

In addition, a sum of $300,000 was negotiated and will be payable as damages by the Surrey School Board to be divided and paid equally to birth mothers who took parental leave between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. With all eligible birth mothers included, each was entitled to $1,140.69.

Going forward, the pregnancy leave SEB remains unchanged and the parental leave SEB is available for “all parents”. This is a significant improvement for mothers taking these leaves and is no longer discriminatory. The Board issued the damages and updated the top up mid-July, 2016.

Finally, the District informed us that district payroll system generated individual cheques for 147 teachers as opposed to an EFT payment (directly into the respective employee’s bank accounts). Everyone should end up being paid appropriately, but some will have automatic deposits while others will receive their cheque in the mail. We have been informed by the school district that cheques were mailed out on Wednesday, July 20.

What should I do if I think I should be entitled to damages and didn’t receive a cheque or direct deposit?

1. Call payroll at 604-595-6115. They have the list of names of people who are eligible to receive damages. They can confirm whether or not you are on the list. If you are on the list and you have not received the damages, they should be able to help you. E.g. You were sent a cheque, but the District does not have your new address on file, so you did not receive it.

a. If you are on the list and payroll cannot help you at this time, not to worry. We will be able to help you sort that out when we are back in the in early September. Please email Sue Heuman, STA Grievance Officer for assistance.

2. If you have taken parental leave within the last two years, have called payroll and have found that you are not on the list but believe that you should have been included, please email Sue Heuman at the STA and copy to Debbie Craig, Director of Labour Relations at the District the following information:
a. Your name and employee number.
b. When you began your maternity leave.
c. When you returned from your maternity leave.

We will be investigating these individual cases in September when STA officers, staff and the district staff are back at work.

Consent award
SEB benefits in respect of EI parental benefits for birth mothers


Thursday, July 28th, 2016. Filed in Category: Grievance

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