Back to the office: PSAC says 91 percent of members oppose a three-day-a-week office mandate

Back to the office: PSAC says 91 percent of members oppose a three-day-a-week office mandate
Back to the office: PSAC says 91 percent of members oppose a three-day-a-week office mandate

A new poll shows a majority of federal workers oppose the new federal government policy of returning to the office three days a week.

According to the Public Service of Canada, 91 per cent of the more than 65,000 union members who responded to the survey said they were “strongly opposed” to the return to civil service. 75 percent of respondents are willing to take action to challenge the new mandate.

The Treasury Board Secretariat announced on May 1 a new hybrid work policy for the Federal Public Service, which will require all civil servants in the core administration to work on-site at least three days a week from September 9. All federal executives are expected to be on site at least four days a week.

“PSAC members overwhelmingly oppose the government’s misguided telework mandate,” the union said in a statement this week. “They are rightfully angry that their employer is making unilateral changes to their work environment without justifying the decision with data.”

According to PSAC, 64 percent of respondents are likely or likely to file a complaint about the new hybrid policy.

According to the union survey, 91 percent of respondents said going to the office three days a week could increase costs. 90 percent of employees were concerned about travel time and transportation, and 89 percent were worried about work-life balance.

According to the PSAC, the survey also found that 83 percent of respondents were concerned about mental health in relation to the new hybrid mandate, while 80 percent were concerned about job satisfaction.

“Physically coming into the office is ridiculous when 100 percent of my work is done through email and virtual meetings. I have no coworkers in the office to report to, it’s just a desk,” read a comment from one employee shared by PSAC.

“Public service providers face the same economic challenges as the rest of Canada. Paying more for parking, gas and child care pushes us even closer to the poverty line,” said another respondent.

The union says a May survey by Abacus Data found that 69 per cent of Canadians support employees having the flexibility to work from home full- or part-time.

Tens of thousands of federal employees began working from home at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2023, the government implemented the current hybrid work policy, which requires federal employees to work in the office two or three days a week.

Federal unions have vowed to fight the new three-day office mandate for federal employees. The unions said in May that they have filed a policy complaint against the new return-to-work mandate and a labor complaint against the Treasury Board with the Federal Public Sector Labor Relations and Employment Board.