Letter of Understanding on temporary layoffs due to COVID-19

The partial shut down of the University of Alberta has hit its financial bottom line in a variety of areas, such as a significant reduction in revenue streams from ancillary services. University administration informed NASA last week that as a result, the university will be forced to temporarily lay off some staff, as it is permitted to do under the terms of the collective agreement.

While NASA cannot prevent temporary layoffs from happening, we have spent the past week negotiating a Letter of Understanding (LOU) with the university that will provide some supports and protections to NASA members who will be impacted by temporary layoff decisions. Most importantly, people on temporary layoff will retain their current health benefits, be guaranteed to return to their current job after the temporary layoff, and have 90 days of protection from any other position disruption when they return. In addition, if a person is admitted to hospital while on temporary layoff they will be able to activate their general illness entitlements.

Impacted staff can apply for support through the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which provides workers impacted by the pandemic with $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. A Record of Employment (ROE) that indicates “Shortage of Work” will be provided by the university to support these applications.

** April 30, 2020 Update **

NASA and university administration have agreed to two changes to the Letter of Understanding (LOU) on temporary layoffs due to COVID-19 in order to clarify the spirit of the agreement and provide more certainty to impacted staff.

Article 4 now specifies that no temporary layoffs under the LOU can occur after June 19, 2020 instead of at any time during the term of the agreement. That article now also clarifies that if the federal government’s income support programs change and are no longer available, no temporary layoffs will be extended beyond the period when income support is available.

Article 25 has been amended to specify that the LOU will be reviewed no later than August 14, 2020 to determine if the COVID-19 situation at that time necessitates an extension. Any extension must be mutually agreed to by NASA and the university, otherwise the LOU will expire on August 31, 2020.

You can download the amended LOU below.

As always, if you have specific questions about your individual circumstance, please contact your Labour Relations Officer for assistance.