Over the course of the last 10 days, representatives from SEIU-West, CUPE, SGEU, HSAS and SUN have met with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) reps via Webex to negotiate a Letter of Understanding (LOU) regarding the development of a Labour Pool and redeployment strategies from the Labour Pool – this is only in relation to COVID-19 health care needs.
We’ve also talked about cohorting – or limiting staff to one workplace during the State of Emergency related to COVID-19.
We’ve been able to reach agreement on this LOU and it has been ratified based on the internal processes of each union.
This applies only to SHA and the Affiliates.
This doesn’t include work within Extendicare Canada facilities, private care homes, or the Community-Based Organization (CBO) sector (although some members may work in more than one workplace related to those employers).
The intent behind the LOU is to create clarity in a potentially volatile circumstances if the COVID-19 pandemic creates more cases that need health care services. Where there is a need to move staff around, this LOU creates rules and structure for how this is done and what are the rights and benefits that our members can expect.
Here’s some highlights:
- Temporary redeployment applies to all staff: full-time, part-time and casual;
- You can voluntarily put your name forward for the Labour Pool, or if your work area is in a slow down or temporarily closed, your employer may assign employees to the Labour Pool;
- Prior to using the Labour Pool to redeploy or assign staff, the employer will use call in and overtime to fill the need;
- An employee assignment/redeployment can occur to the following:
- Within your own unit;
- Within the department or program;
- To another work area, unit, program or department;
- To a new service, program or facility (including COVID test/assessment sites);
- From one area Labour Pool to another area Labour Pool;
- Between different bargaining units; or
- To work only at one site (cohorting)
- Employees can identify their preferred single site for cohorting purposes, but granting that preference is subject to staffing levels being adequate at all sites.
- If you are cohorted, your call in list availability will transfer to your single site. You will not be removed from any call in lists following the 180 day period because of cohorting.
- If redeployed, preference will be given to same classification. Consideration will be given to skills, licenses, ability, geographic location and schedules.
- You will not be required to perform work that is beyond your scope of practice.
- Redeployment might not take place if there is a refusal to work under The Occupational Health And Safety Act and Regulations; or if a medical accommodation prevents it (including being immune compromised); or for family status accommodation; or for exceptional circumstances.
- You would work your regular schedule unless redeployment requires changes to your schedule.
- Positions or vacancies related to the Labour Pool and redeployment will not be posted during the life of this LOU – but all other positions would still be subject to the normal posting process.
- You can be assigned/redeployed once or multiple time or for blocks of time depending on COVID-19 health care needs.
- You will receive orientation specific to the job/site and the necessary personal protective equipment to do your work.
- The employer will provide a list to the Unions of all employees redeployed.
- If you’re assigned to the Labour Pool but not redeployed, the employer will find work for you.
- Guaranteed hours will not be reduced. No layoff notices will be issued.
- Overtime and premium pay provisions still apply.
- The employer will pay a premium for the first five (5) shifts only for changes to your work schedule that occur within a single posted and confirmed period due to this pandemic emergency. Otherwise, the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement will apply.
- A change of shift related to the COVID-19 health care needs shall be deemed to be required by the employer.
- Shift/schedule changes mean a change to the shift length, days worked, hours worked, or community worked.
- Should the employer still require additional employees after the provisions of the collective agreement and the redeployment from the Labour Pools, the employer shall use the broadcast system to offer shifts. The broadcast system will offer shifts specific to work area, classification or department.
- If you are redeployed to a lower paid classification, you will maintain your rate of pay. If you work in a higher paid classification you will be paid the higher rate.
- Meals, mileage and travel time will be paid for those redeployed.
- This LOU addresses the mobilization of a ‘supplemental workforce’ comprised of out of scope, contractors, health system partners, students, or volunteers. They will not be members of the unions. And will only be used once call-in/OT/labour pool redeployment and broadcast system do not fill the shifts offered out.
We will share the contents of the LOU once we have received a signed copy and will be talking about this further on our Facebook Live event on Tuesday April 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm.