Assignments outside of Headquarters area

These questions and answers were prepared to clarify assignment situations and to encourage managers and employees to consult the NJC Directives, in response to an increasing number of departmental enquiries related to employees who are being assigned to work outside of their headquarters area and for which NJC Directives apply. 

The cases that have surfaced recently involve managers who are authorizing employee assignments to isolated post locations without considering the entitlements under the Travel Directive, the IPGHD and in some cases the Integrated Relocation Directive even though the employees' substantive position is maintained in a non-isolated post and the employees are expected to return to their substantive position at the end of their assignment.

Question 1 a)

I am assigned for a specified period to an isolated post but my substantive position remains in a non-isolated post.  Am I entitled to isolated posts allowances and benefits during my assignment?

Answer: 1 a)

An employee who is sent on assignment (regardless of whether it is an employer or employee requested assignment) to work in an isolated post for a specified period which is less than one year and whose substantive position is located at an non-isolated post, is not subject to the provisions of the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive.  The employee in this instance would be subject to the provisions of the NJC Travel Directive.

For additional information, please consult the following NJC directives:

  1. Travel Directive – please refer to the definition of "Headquarters Area" and module 3 for the relevant entitlements.
  2. Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive – please refer to article 1.13 Travel Status

Question 1 b)

I am assigned for a specified period from an isolated post to a non-isolated post location but my substantive position remains at an isolated post.  Will I be entitled to continue receiving isolated posts allowances during my assignment in the non-isolated post location?

Answer: 1 b)

An employee, who is sent on assignment to work in a "non-isolated post" for a specified period and whose substantive position remains in an "isolated post", may be subject to one or both the NJC Travel and Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directives during the period of assignment as explained below:

When employees are absent from their headquarters and are paid transportation or travelling expenses in respect of that absence, their allowances shall, on the 31st calendar day of absence,

a.  cease, if they are employees with dependants and none of their dependants remain at their headquarters,

b.  revert to the employee without dependants rate, if they are employees with dependants and one of their dependants remains at their headquarters, or

c.  remain at the employee with dependants rate, if they are employees with dependants and more than one of their dependants remains at their headquarters.

For additional information please refer to article 1. 18 of the IPGHD

Also, please refer to the Travel Directive –definition of "Headquarters Area" and Module 3 for the relevant entitlements

Question: 2

Does the Integrated Relocation Directive apply to employees on assignment of more than one year's duration to a location outside their headquarters area?

Answer: 2

The NJC Integrated Relocation Directive (IRD) may apply to employees on assignment of more than one year's duration, by mutual agreement of the employer and employee as per section 12.  Where the assignment and or term are for less than three years, the provisions on sale and purchase of property will not apply.  Please refer to articles 1.4.3 and 13.7 of the IRD.

Question: 3

In circumstances where by mutual agreement of the employer and the employee, the assignment is extended beyond the one year's duration, and the employee is relocated to a position in an isolated post location, when do the allowances of the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive commence? 

Answer: 3

As per article 1.15 of the IPGHD, the period of eligibility for the payment of allowances shall commence on the later of:

a.  00:01 hour of the day that the employee arrives at the headquarters;

b.  midnight of the last day in respect of which the employee is paid any transportation or travelling expenses as a result of the assignment to an isolated post; and

c.  00:01 hour of the day the employee returns to work after a period of leave without pay ends.

You should also refer to article 4.1 of the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive and article 13.2 of the Integrated Relocation Directive to familiarize yourself on the conditions/parameters set out therein.

Question: 4

What happens if as an employee, I do not wish to be relocated permanently to the location of the assignment?

Answer: 4

If you do not wish to be relocated permanently to the location after having been assigned for a period of one year, your manager will decide whether to renew the assignment under the provisions of the NJC Travel Directive or terminate the assignment.

Question: 5

How do I determine which of the NJC Directives apply in cases of assignments?

Answer:  5

Managers/employees should always consult with their Designated Departmental Coordinators for Travel, Isolated Posts and Government Housing as well as their National Coordinators for Relocation prior to considering employee "assignments" which are outside the "headquarters area", to ensure they fully understand the entitlements covered under the provisions of each of the NJC directives, the parameters of the directives, the extent of their delegated authority and the specific application in these types of situations.  As well, managers should fully understand the costs associated with entering into such agreements. 

Please note that the provisions under National Joint Council Directives are deemed to form part of employees' Collective Agreements. An employee cannot waive his or her rights under a collective agreement, not even by mutual agreement between the employee and a manager or as outlined in a letter of understanding with respect to a particular assignment.

You may find the list of Designated Departmental Coordinators for each NJC Directive at the following web links:

Designated Departmental Coordinators for the IPGHD

http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/ipgh-dpill/ddhc-cmdl_e.asp

Designated Departmental Travel Coordinators

http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/hr-rh/gtla-vgcl/dtc-cmv_e.asp

Departmental National Coordinators for the IRD

http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/hr-rh/gtla-vgcl/dnc-cmn_e.asp