AMAPCEO calls for remote work standards; flexibility in OPS
Publish date: Wednesday, July 20, 2022 update
The future of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) workplace must be fairer and more flexible to keep up with changing times, AMAPCEO is advocating through a new written submission delivered to the OPS Employer in late July.
The submission is the union’s formal response to the OPS Employer’s consultations with bargaining agents on its “Future of the Workplace Policy,” which is expected to outline revised employee access to alternative work arrangements, including remote work. The Employer has indicated the policy will be released in the fall.
Access to alternative work arrangements (AWAs) has been a provision of the AMAPCEO-OPS Collective Agreement for many years, however the union’s experience has been that management’s consideration of employee requests for AWAs has been inconsistent.
“Managers have too much individual discretion and too little guidance in the current arrangement,” AMAPCEO President Dave Bulmer said. “This has led to unfairness within local workplaces and inconsistencies across the OPS.”
“Our proposal seeks to address the root causes of that inconsistency while expanding member access to AWAs.”
AMAPCEO leadership is recommending that a joint review process be established in which management and union representatives would determine a set of AWA standards for similar AMAPCEO-represented positions.
Each position would be evaluated and granted a set number of remote working days, specified compressed work week (CWW) arrangements, or a combination of both. Employees could then request any or all of these AWA options. Employees would still be able to work with their managers to adjust their individual agreement, as they do now.
“The reality is that an across-the-board, one-size fits all policy on a set number of remote workdays isn’t feasible,” Bulmer said. “The jobs our members perform are unique from one another. This creative approach would ensure more equitable access and fairer application of alternative work arrangements, like remote work, for all our members.”
The union is calling for the OPS Employer to maintain employees’ current working arrangements (for most AMAPCEO members, this means three days in-workplace, two days remote) until the review is complete, and to use this model as the starting point for determining each position’s AWA standard on a permanent basis.
“AMAPCEO members have proven that we can work for Ontario from anywhere,” Bulmer said. “Let’s acknowledge the success of the last two plus years and use it as a baseline in shaping the future of the workplace.”
The union has been advocating for this more equitable approach at the bargaining table since talks began February 28.
“We have shared interests with the Employer on the workplace of the future,” Bulmer said. “Codifying the Employer’s proposed policy into our collective agreement in some fashion would make for a fair solution. We look forward to resuming talks.”
The union’s “Future of the Workplace Policy” submission also included recommendations on easier access to flex hours, the development of satellite touchdown offices outside of Toronto to ease commutes, and introduction of a one-week compressed work week model to permit a four-day workweek.
More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).