The health and safety of our members and their patients is our top priority. The situation regarding COVID-19 in our province continues to evolve.  Please refer to this page often for the latest updates and information. Scroll down to see frequently asked questions and answers.

 

Latest UpDATES

 

Position statement on COivd-19

RNU supports the position of the Canadian Federation of Nurses’ Unions (CFNU). We maintain all health care workers at risk of exposure to COVID-19 should be provided with and have access to a fitted N-95 respirator. We also acknowledge that risk varies greatly depending on the caregiver, patient, environment and situation. Point-of-care risk assessment should be used to determine the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Individual health care workers are best positioned to determine the appropriate mask required based on the situation or their interactions with an individual patient. Read the full position statement. 

 

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (LAST UPDATE: April 1, 12:00 P.M.)

 

I have been told not to use a N95 mask. What should I do?

Do a point-of-care risk assessment (evaluate the situation and your interactions with the patient).

Decide what you feel is the appropriate PPE.

If your assessment determines a surgical mask can be used, proceed with your nursing care.

If your assessment determines that an N95 should be used, speak to your manager or designate. Inform them you will be using an N95

If your manager directs you to treat the patient without an N95, you have the option to refuse unsafe work under the Occupational Health & Safety Act.

 

I have to swab a patient without an N95 respirator. What should I do?

Do a point-of-care risk assessment (evaluate the situation and your interactions with the patient).

Decide what you feel is the appropriate PPE.

If your assessment determines a surgical mask can be used, proceed with your nursing care.

If your assessment determines that an N95 should be used, speak to your manager or designate. Inform them you will be using an N95

If your manager directs you to treat the patient without an N95, you have the option to refuse unsafe work under the Occupational Health & Safety Act.

 

What’s the procedure for refusing unsafe work?

  • Tell your manager you are refusing unsafe work.
  • Provide your safety concerns and reasons for the refusal.
  • Contact your workplace Occupational Health and Safety representative immediately. (Your manager can help identify your rep. You may also find information on the employer intranet or OH&S bulletin board).
  • Follow-up with your OH&S representative in writing (email is fine).
  • Management will then investigate.
  • If your employer fails to provide an N95 respirator, the next step is to report it to the Occupational Health and Safety Division of the provincial government (the OH&S Committee should be able to provide details on making this contact). Also, contact RNU Provincial Office. During after hours, email info@rnunl.ca.
  • While the matter is being investigated by the Occupational Health and Safety Division, your employer may assign you other duties.

 

I am required to self-isolate even though I am asymptomatic. What leave am I entitled to?

You are entitled to a maximum of 75 hours special paid leave.

 

Do I have to use sick leave if I acquire COVID-19 at work?

If you believe you acquired COVID-19 through exposure in your workplace you should file a WorkplaceNL claim. If your claim is approved you will be covered under WorkplaceNL benefits and time lost will not be taken from your own sick leave.

 

Do I have to use sick leave if I acquire COVID-19 outside of work?

Permanent and temporary employees:

You are required to use sick leave (or other accumulated leave) if you acquire COVID-19 outside of the workplace. Sick leave is a collective agreement provision in place to cover illness and will apply as it normally would if you were to become sick from other causes.

Casual employees:

 You will receive up to 75 hours of special paid leave for use when you are required to self-isolate or have become ill with COVID-19. The actual hours of leave granted will be determined by your average time worked during the last 6 pay periods.

I have been given conflicting direction about self isolation or possible exposure.

We understand that conflicting advice can contribute to frustration and anxiety.

In the case of conflicting recommendations, we advise that you follow the direction provided by your employer’s Occupational Health and Safety department. These are the experts on contact tracing, what to do in the case of potential exposure, and COVID-19 in general. They are knowledgeable of the latest recommendations from the Department of Health and are able to provide you with the most current direction in this rapidly evolving pandemic.

 

I do not have child care and am scheduled to report to work. What options do I have?

We understand the immense pressure and anxiety experienced by member’s struggling to secure childcare because of school and daycare closures. On March 25th, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced they will permit the operation of regulated child care services for children (one to 13 years) in order to support and enable essential workers to provide critical services if they have no other options available.
This will provide emergency access to licensed child care providers at no cost to the parent/guardian. It is very similar to what other provinces are offering at this time.

We recognize that while this is an option, it is not a blanket or perfect solution for the varied needs of our membership.

RNU is monitoring the concerns expressed by our members and we are actively seeking further updates from the provincial government, specifically regarding alternate solutions (reimbursement of private child care costs), hours of operation and their plan to provide child care while abiding by public health recommendations such as reduced group sizes and physical distancing.

For those without alternate childcare options, we highly suggest you fill out the application form as soon as possible and continue to follow details about this emergency child care initiative as they become available.

 

What extra precautions should I take for COVID-19 if I am immunocompromised or pregnant?

Pregnant or immunocompromised members should consult their primary care provider and ensure they gather any necessary documentation for medical accommodations. Keep your manager and your employer’s Occupational Health and safety department informed.

 

I traveled outside the province but within Canada in the last fourteen days. Should I still go to work?

Anyone arriving to the province from outside Newfoundland and Labrador on or after March 20, 2020 is required to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival. Notify your manager as soon as possible and follow direction provided by your employer.

 

I traveled outside the country in the last fourteen days. Should I still go to work?

If you returned from international travel to Canada before 7:00 p.m. on March 14, 2020, you can return to work and are expected to self-monitor. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should self-isolate and call 811 for direction.

If you returned to Canada after 7:00 p.m. on March 14, 2020, you must self-isolate for 14 days.

 

I recently traveled and have to self-isolate. How will I be compensated? What leave will I use?

  • Employees will be paid special paid leave for any regular work days missed.
  • In keeping with federal government direction, future personal travel plans should be made with careful consideration given the health risks associated with travel outside Canada.
  • Employees who already have leave approved and choose to travel internationally on or after March 15, 2020, will be required to self-isolate upon return to Newfoundland and Labrador, however these employees will not be paid special paid leave for any regular work days missed.
  • In all situations above, employees who are required by their employer to work from home will be expected to do so and will receive regular pay.

 

I work casual and have to self-isolate. How will I be compensated?

As per the Good Neighbour Agreement (GNA), “casual employees, who are asymptomatic but required to self-isolate and/or exhibit acute respiratory illness-like symptoms and are unable to report to work, will be placed on special leave with pay. Pay will based on an the averaging of the hours worked over the last six (6) pay periods up to a combined maximum of seventy-five (75) hours.”

To read the full GNA please click Good Neighbour Agreement.

 

What can I do to feel more prepared for COVID-19 in my workplace?

We encourage you to discuss workplace safety with your employer/manager and make certain that appropriate PPE, protocols and preventative measures are in place. Make sure your fit-testing is up to date and use contact, droplet and airborne precautions, including gloves, gowns and face shields.

 

COVID-19 RESOURCES: