Health guidelines for employees

This page tells employees of McGill University what to do if you have symptoms or have received a diagnosis of COVID-19, are at high risk, or have concerns about your work environment. 

Everyone at McGill must read and follow the general Health guidelines. Employees who are also students should also consult the Health guidelines for students.

If you are experiencing symptoms 

  • If you were on campus in the 48 hours* before your symptoms appeared, please contact HR disability management at disability.hr [at] mcgill.ca
  • If you were not on campus in the 48 hours before your symptoms appear, you do not need to report your symptoms to HR  unless you need an accommodation. 
  • For work accommodations, staff members should contact HR disability management at  disability.hr [at] mcgill.ca  to report this situation 

If you receive a diagnosis 

Employees who have received a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 must complete the confirmation of illness form and send it by email to  disability.hr [at] mcgill.ca. The Disability Management unit (HR) will contact them to document their condition. Employees can choose to tell colleagues about the diagnosis, but are not obligated to do so, unless directed by a health professional. 

Exception: you do not need to fill out the confirmation of illness form to report your absence if: 

  • you were not on campus in the 48 hours* before your symptoms appeared (or in the 48 hours before the date you got tested, if you are asymptomatic) AND
  • you are able to continue your work from home 

*In September 2020, Montreal Public Health changed their guidelines. They now recommend tracing contacts in the 48 hours before symptoms appear, or the date an asymptomatic person was tested. Previously it had been seven days before.

Employees returning to campus 

If you had symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, the requirement for self-isolation ends when you meet all of the following three conditions: 

  1. At least 10 days have passed since:
    • your symptoms first appeared, if you have symptoms OR
    • the date of your test, if you tested positive, but have not had symptoms
  2. You have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours 
  3. You have not had a fever for at least 48 hours 

Important: If you had symptoms or a fever on day 10, you must remain in isolation until you have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours and without fever for at least 48 hours. 

Of course, if your doctor recommends a different course of action, please follow the advice of your health professional.

Immuno-compromised and other high-risk employees 

People with a weakened immune system, certain chronic conditions and/or who are aged 70 years are over may be at greater risk of developing complications to COVID-19.

Employees in these categories  will be asked to work from home where their work responsibilities can be fully conducted remotely in accordance with government recommendations. 

If the University determines that: 

  1. Working from home is not possible and/or; 
  2. The employee is required to provide necessary activities and functions on campus, 

then a case-by-case evaluation must be carried out and the medical condition must be documented with disability.hr [at] mcgill.ca.

If it is determined that: 

  1. the medical condition does not put the employee at risk of complications, the employee will be asked to return to work on campus. 
  2. the medical condition puts the employee at risk of complications, should the employee be diagnosed with COVID-19, the following can take place:
     
  • The University will have the responsibility to put in place the recommendations of the  Direction de la santé publique  (DSP) in the workplace, and the employee will have to apply them. Should the employee have reasonable motives to believe that the work environment puts their health at risk, they can exercise their right to refuse work as per section 12 of the  Loi sur la santé et la sécurité du travail (LSST). See  Refusal to work
  • The University may decide to reassign the employee to other tasks. This must be done in consultation with Human Resources (HR) and/or Labour & Employee Relations (LER). 
  • The employee retains the right to remain at work insofar as the employee has been adequately informed about the risks related to the work and that the University has taken all necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. 
  • If the University determines that it is not possible to make the necessary accommodations to safely return the employee to the workplace, the employee will be invited to take vacation days, banked overtime, floating days or an unpaid leave of absence subject to University policies. 

Employee refusal to work for health and safety reasons 

Our workplace is still a safe environment. The measures that have been put in place are meant to limit the propagation for the virus. Therefore, we ask all our employees who are coming into work to apply the recommended health guidelines. 

If employees have reasonable grounds to believe the workplace presents unsafe working conditions, they may initiate a refusal to work process in accordance with the Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety. The law provides that an employee has a right to refuse to perform particular work if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the performance of that work would expose them to danger to their health, safety or physical well-being, or would expose another person to a similar danger.  

Employees are invited to contact their manager to discuss their specific situation and concerns before or as they initiate a refusal to work process in order to explore if additional safety measures could be implemented to make the working environment safer. 

The refusal to work process must be documented by the immediate supervisor. Without reasonable grounds, a work refusal may be considered an unjustified absence. Supervisors and managers facing such a situation must consult with Human Resources. 

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