Message from President Michelle Senkow
CHANGES TO THE NEW PHAA PROVINCIAL AGREEMENT (Part 2 of 3)
This list is NOT exhaustive; it highlights the critical changes that members should know about. It is important that you contact your Local or your Labour Relations Officer for more details.
Nurses will now have portability of seniority from one Alberta Employer to another where the agreement has reciprocal language. Your former service may be “recaptured” for seniority purposes, if there was no break in employment (resignation) of more than six months.
Employers have three months to post a new seniority list. Nurses need to provide proof of previous service to their Locals if they wish to challenge their seniority date.
A nurse can have only one employment relationship within the bargaining unit. This means that nurses can no longer hold two or more separate positions with the same Employer. (Letter of Understanding – Combined Positions)
No nurse can apply for an additional position to add to his or her current position. This is a change for Community Nurses. Nurses can continue to increase or decrease their hours of work through the Letter of Understanding Re: Decreasing and Increasing Regular Hours of Work.
Nurses in part time positions can continue to pick up additional shifts but any shifts worked will be part of their one employment relationship.
LAYOFF AND RECALL
The large regional bargaining units create significant changes. Displacement operates same as previous but nurses can now bump across the bargaining unit (for most nurses this will mean across the health region).
Employers must offer recall to vacant positions across the bargaining unit. A nurse can refuse work at another site and still maintain recall rights to other sites in the bargaining unit.
RESPONSIBILITY ALLOWANCE, TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT AND IN CHARGE
The previous language in Community and Facilities agreement has been merged. No nurse can receive both charge pay and responsibility allowance.
New for Community nurse is the $3.00/hour payment when they are assigned responsibility for administrative operation of a site.
There is no provision for Easter Sunday or Easter Monday as Named Holidays. All nurses are paid one and one half times for all hours worked on Named Holidays.
SICK LEAVE BANKS
If a nurse has a sick “bank” at two or more sites, they are combined, and can be greater than 120 days. Nurses who have more than 120 days in their bank keep them until the bank falls below 120 days. The bank is then “capped” at 120 days.
SICK LEAVE AND VACATION
Nurses who suffer an illness or injury during their vacation that would have prevented them from working for three days or more can ask that those days be paid as sick leave rather than vacation. They will be required to provide proof of the illness or injury and the duration.
Nurses still have the ability to claim for sick leave if hospitalized during their vacation.
PREPAID HEALTH BENEFITS – VISION CARE
As of July 1, 2004 each Employee is eligible for $600 coverage every two calendar Years. In addition, all Employers must provide HOBP (Health Organization Benefit Plan) supplementary benefits plan or equivalent to their Employees.
A Nurse required to attend court as a witness in a criminal matter or in a matter relating to employment shall have the time off without a loss of pay.
Special Leave has been clarified. Family Leave is for pre-planned health needs of a family member when a shift exchange or other time off cannot be arranged. Pressing Necessity Leave is for an unforeseen circumstance that requires the Employee’s attention or prevents an Employee from attending work. May include sudden family illness.
TERMINAL CARE LEAVE
Upon request a nurse can be granted a leave without pay to care for a gravely ill family member. Employers will continue to cover their share of nurse’s benefits for a period up to six (6) months. The new employment Insurance Compassionate Leave will pay for up to six weeks leave.
NOTE: You may be required to submit proof demonstrating the need for Special Leave or Terminal Care Leave.
RECOGNITION OF PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE
If an RN or RPN has completed a nursing refresher course in the past 12 months the Employer will recognize experience that is more than 5 years old.
(Please check our November 2004 Newsletter for the 3rd installment of this article).
Michelle M. Senkow
President, UNA Local 115