Thursday, November 24, 2011

Accountable to whom? (Sick Time Revisited)

Saskatoon Health Region

Can we say enough about the alleged sick-time abuse brought forward by The Saskatoon Health Region?

Over the last year, SHR would have us believe that each and every employee is or has been an abuser of sick time. Recently the clause "Good Attendance Required" has been added as a job requirement for internal postings. Although the concept may be well intended by management, it cannot exist in a seniority based system.

Rather than target the "abusers" the health region has blanketed all employees under the same veil. The current collective agreement defines sick leave as:(24.01) The period of time an employee is absent from work by virtue of being sick or disabled or because of an accident not covered by Workers' compensation.

Subsequently, under (4.01) Non Discrimination: The Employer and the Union agree that there shall be no discrimination, interference, restriction, coercion, exercised or practiced with respect to any employee in the matter of hiring, wage rates, training, upgrading, promotion, transfer, layoff, recall, discipline, classification, discharge, or otherwise by reason of age, race, creed, colour, national origin, disability (subject to bona fide occupational requirements), political or religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, place of residence, nor by reason of membership or activity in the union.

On December 17-2010, SHR released a Region Wide Attendance Policy, in which attendance is calculated on a peer group average. Peer Group Average: Is a benchmark measure to which employees are compared. Peer Group Average absenteeism is calculated by taking all of of the paid sick time hours of employees in a particular union and dividing by the number of full time equivalent employees in that union. Peer Group Average rates can be described as a number of hours(for full time employees only) or as a percentage of hours (which applies to full time, part time, and casual employees). Seems pretty straight forward right? Wrong! Based on this calculation a full-time employee' s sick time average fluctuates regardless of whether the employee has used sick time or not. Senior Employees are being denied positions because their Peer Group Average sick time is too high, this is not an acceptable answer as the calculation used to determine your average is based on a total sick time usage within the region, then divided by full time or full time equivalent employees only.

With a Peer Group Average which hasn't fluctuated more than half a percentage point since it's inception, one begins to wonder if the calculations are true, or is management playing the numbers to make themselves look good?
In a system which allows employees to improve their position by seniority, the system implemented by SAHO is demeaning and screams discrimination.

The Human Rights (Of Saskatchewan) code states that It's against the law for someone to discriminate against you in Employment or Occupations.
The dictionary describes Occupation as: a person's usual or principal work or business, especially as a means of earning a living; vocation.

The very idea that management is playing your private numbers ( as it pertains to sick time) should remain private. Requesting sick notes (when you are off sick) is ok sure, all sick notes are standard "Jane Smith was absent from work on Dec.5 Due to medical reasons" The attendance reviews conducted by management are impeding on your right to privacy. Under The Privacy Act of Saskatchewan, section 2 subsection (d) states: use of letters, diaries or other personal documents of a person; without the consent, expressed or implied, of the person or some other person who has the lawful authority to give the consent is prima facie evidence of a violation of the privacy of the person first mentioned.

If Management insists on denying job postings due to sick time, it may prepare itself for multiple discrimination cases.
Martin Been
Protection Under The Human Right Code

Where am I Protected?

It’s against the law for someone to discriminate against you in:
  • employment or occupations
  • education
  • housing
  • publications
  • public services (restaurants, stores, hotels, government services, etc.)
  • contracts or purchase of property
  • professional associations or trade unions.

Friday, July 22, 2011

KISS Principle

Cypress Health Region

CHR management has come up with yet another way to add to the stress of workers who need to call in sick or because of unforeseen situations.

Instead of following established guidelines, some managers demand their staff, while off work, spend their own time dealing with notification matters usually handled by employees actually at work.

Tell this dog why you would insist on employees, off sick or for emergencies, duplicate their efforts by calling not one person but two, and then, to add insult to injury, refuse to provide earned benefits, simply because the managers didn't directly receive their own personalized copy of a detailed message from the employee as to why they are away?

It's another example of the larger problem. By consistently failing to invest in any thought before acting, management will continue to waste valuable time, human and monetary resources in their efforts to back track and cover up, and will ultimately pay an unnecessary penalty, simply because they can't follow the rules.

Employer policies are supposed to be designed for patient and resident safety, and efficient operations. Can someone explain to this dog how stressing out health care employees help patients, residents or the organization?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This dog can’t help but shake its head…

Cypress Regional HospitalCypress Health Region

As it turns out, the Lab at the hospital was closed down shortly after our eyewitness was able to get their blood drawn on Monday.

If only there was a solution…

Oh but there is.

Hire people full-time permanent.  Value your employees – don’t undercut and disrespect them. 

Allow them the opportunity to work a stable, certain schedule where they can balance work life and family life.

Permanent employment means a lot to a person.

So does respect for their contribution.

This means they can pay their bills, feed their kids and maybe, just maybe save some money for a vacation or maybe even retirement…

To keep facilities open, we must retain good people. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Proudly Announcing: Another Temporary Fix...

Cypress Regional Hospital - Cypress Health Region

Patients wanting to have blood drawn at the Cypress Regional Hospital will likely have to wait a while.

One patient in particular shared her story with the Watch Dog.

Knowing that it can take a bit of time at the lab, she went early to beat the rush.

To her surprise at 7:45 am, there was a massive line up for blood work and only 2 staff in the Lab area.

She decided that maybe coming back during her coffee break would be a better idea...given the wait time.

When she made her way back at 10:30 am, there were signs up saying "WORKING SHORT".

Apparently, those signs work much like mosquito repellent because there was no one there and she was able to get her blood work done.

You would think that there would be a desire to hire full-time permanent staff so this wouldn't be an issue anymore right?

Apparently not.

Of the most recent 10 job postings for Cypress Health Region only 2 permanent positions (1 full-time and 1 part-time) were posted.

The rest - including Part-time Medical Laboratory Techs - were all Temporary positions (3 full-time and 5 part-time).

The Watch Dog wonders whether they have a problem with the certainty & stability attached to a permanent full-time work force.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

How many sticks do they have behind their back? Or is this just another stupid human trick?

Cypress Health Region – Shaunavon Hospital

The watch dog is getting confused and even more frustrated with the ‘creative’ tricks management in Cypress is rolling out these days

First they tried replacing regular staff with contract staff. That didn’t work. So…

As of July 8, 2011 the Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre will see RNs working all days – 12 hour days.

The RNs will be self-scheduling.

The dog asks: ‘What happens to LPNs if the RNs are self-scheduling?’

Shaunavon Hospital will magically become a ‘Health Centre’. But wait, the doctors won’t agree to call the hospital a health centre so a more ‘creative’ name is in the works.

Might we suggest, save the signage re-printing money and keep it a HOSPITAL????
So while the Hospital is only running 12 hours instead of it’s mandated 24 hours, EMS will sit in the ‘hospital’ parking lot for 12 hours like an emergency tent that they put up for outdoor festivals.

EMS workers will have to assess the person in the ambulance and then tell the patient where to go…return the next day for more care or if the situation is dire enough… they will take the patient by ambulance to Swift Current.

Wait, aren’t ambulances supposed to take people to Hospitals? Not sit outside them and wait for people to come to them?  When did they become emergency clinics?
If this isn’t confusing enough, consider the fact that they have perfectly willing people waiting to work. A retired member of SEIU-West (she just retired in February) is willing to pick up LPN shifts on a casual basis but the employer has told her ‘Wait until August’.

Why?  If asked, Management will indicate that this is because of the CHESS program.

Admittedly, the logic in all of this is not entirely clear.  We will have more on this story…stay tuned.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's getting scary out here!

Gull Lake Special Care Centre - Cypress Health Region

It seems temporary disruptions of service are a chronic condition in Cypress Health Region...or is this a rural nightmare?

Who was out of luck on June 15, 2011? The residents of Gull Lake.

It may be one day, but as residents of Leader found out, one day leads to two, leads to three, etc... before you know it, your community is in a full-blown "temporary closure" mode. Now it has been over a year.

Residents of Wakaw are experiencing a threat of closure at their hospital too. And the list keeps growing in rural Saskatchewan.

This watchdog encourages the residents living in the Cypress Health Region to take advantage of the offer on this flyer (pictured below) and call the Health Services Manager and share your concerns about the epidemic of temporary disruptions of service in the Cypress Health Region.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It’s about dog-gone time…

Leader HospitalCypress Health Region

Congratulations to the town of Leader. The Cypress Health Region confirmed that they will be re-opening the hospital for acute care services effective June 20, 2011.

Temporary, in this case, meant just over a year of no hospital acute care services.

This watch dog is encouraged by this news and is hopeful that this isn’t a temporary re-opening.

Here’s hoping that it doesn’t take the Saskatoon Health Region as long to re-open the Wakaw Hospital.