This year, just as previous years, came and went with the regular business attended to – whether in Labour Relations, Operations or Governance. Your Executive Council and its Committees set the policies and direction of your union, the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS). When establishing the path going forward, Executive Council must review past experiences and accomplishments.
On October 23, Arbitrator Allen Ponak issued an arbitration award granting overtime pay for three HSAS outpatient physical therapists who had worked overtime through their breaks, lunch periods, and after hours to be able to fulfill their job duties in the Five Hills Health Region.
Due to a decision by health region management to decrease the amount of time allowed per scheduled patient visit (twenty minutes as opposed to the previously allotted time of thirty minutes), the physical therapists found that in order to finish their charting duties, they were frequently having to stay late and work through breaks and lunch.
Management refused to pay for the extra time worked by the therapists. They deemed it to be “unauthorized” overtime. This led the employees to contact HSAS and file a grievance about the unpaid overtime they had worked and the lack of compensation.
In early October, the physical therapists and HSAS brought forth their evidence of the overtime hours the therapists had worked to fulfill their charting duties. Additionally, it was argued that although their time may not have been officially authorized, it was well known to the employer that the extra time was being worked by these employees.
Upon hearing the arguments for both sides, Arbitrator Ponak recognized that the physical therapists should be fully compensated for fulfilling their professional duties.
A key excerpt from the decision delivered by the arbitrator:
“The Board concludes that under this collective bargaining agreement the failure to obtain authorization does not, in itself, remove the obligation of the Employer to pay the overtime if the hours have been worked as long as the reason for working the additional hours are appropriate.
Certainly there may be circumstances under this contract in which an employee works overtime without pre-authorization and the Employer is justified in refusing to pay. Our conclusion is not an open-ended declaration that employees can self-direct overtime whenever they want. For example, the Employer might well be on solid grounds in declining to pay overtime if there is evidence that employees attempted to “game” the system by engaging in unnecessary make-work projects or consciously procrastinated during the regular work day to create unnecessary overtime. These are not the current facts. The Grievors worked beyond their regular hours because that was the only way to complete their charting, an essential component of their obligations as health care professionals. They were faced with a Hobson’s choice – work overtime even though they were led to believe they would not be paid or leave on time and neglect their professional responsibilities. They chose the former out of conscientious and professionalism. The lack of pre-authorization is no barrier to payment in these circumstances.”
Hopefully this decision will promote more of our members to come forward when faced with similar situations and challenge the numerous extra hours that go uncompensated.
As always, HSAS is proud to work for the collective rights of our members and we urge all of you to read this significant decision as it may apply to your workplace.
HSAS is gathering information on which charities/causes HSAS members support with their time or financial commitment. This information will be considered by your HSAS Executive Council in planning for possible future HSAS community involvement.
This year the RQHR, led by Regina EMS, began development on a peer support team. This team will be only one part of a larger framework of resources for employees dealing with occupational stress injuries or experiencing critical incidents. This system is not new to first responders as it is commonly used among other emergency services. Some supports have been available in the past for our Regina EMS members, but now a team is being created from the ground up to make sure their colleagues are also safe and have resources available to them.
The team is made up of members from EMS, the emergency departments, and Oncology. This group of paramedics, 911 communication specialists and nurses is currently receiving education in critical incident stress debriefings, suicide awareness/prevention and will also soon have the Road to Mental Readiness course. At this early stage, the team is only prepared to provide limited support to Regina EMS, Pasqua and Regina General Hospital Emergency, and Oncology. However, the support will become more robust as the team continues to receive training and develops an operational framework. When it comes to occupational stress injuries, the peer support team is separate from EFAP programs and WCB. Although the team will likely have working knowledge of those systems in the future, it is still recommended that members utilize the resources provided by EFAP and WCB and seek help when needed.
There is plenty of support for PTSD awareness from the Prime Minister, Minister of Public Safety, RCMP, police and fire services, EMS across Canada and the general public. HSAS will also continue to help support its members who are impacted by occupational stress injuries and PTSD.
Stay tuned for future announcements in regards to this very important team.
The HSAS Newsfeed is updated daily and is available from the HSAS Home Page.
From the HSAS News Feed
Report on lean outcomes in health care could arrive in 2017-18
A broad report on lean implementation in Saskatchewan health care could be publicly released in the 2017-18 fiscal year, says Gary Teare, CEO of the Health Quality Council. From: Saskatoon Star Phoenix - Online - Author: Jonathan Charlton - December 8, 2016
Saskatchewan: Workers No Longer Have to Prove Psychological Injury
Under Bill 39, The Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act, 2016, introduced in the Saskatchewan legislature Oct. 25, “unless the contrary is proven, if a worker or former worker is diagnosed with a psychological injury by a psychiatrist or psychologist, that injury is presumed to be an injury that arose out of and in the course of the worker’s employment.” From: Bloomberg BNA - Online - Author: Jeremy Hainsworth - November 10, 2016
Saskatchewan changes law to help workers with psychological injury
Psychological injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder impact more than just military personnel. PTSD is prevalent in our first responders as well. But as provincial affairs reporter David Baxter explains, new legislation is on the way to help those people get the treatment they need. From: Canadian Press via Global News - Online - Author: Jennifer Graham - October 25, 2016
Saskatoon Health Region Layoffs - Letter to the Editor
HSAS sent a letter regarding Audiologist layoffs in the Saskatoon Health Region to the Editors of news papers and publications in the Saskatoon Health Region, Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, Prairie North Health Region, Kelsey Trail Health Region, Keewatin Yatthé Health Region and the Mamawetan Churchill River Regional Health Authority.
December 26, 2016
December 27, 2016 (in lieu of Sunday, December 25, 2016) January 2, 2017 (in lieu of Sunday, January 1, 2017)
HSAS Convention 2016 Summary now available
HSAS Convention 2016 Delegates & Staff
Thank you to our members who were able to attend this year’s convention and AGM. The summary is now posted online for your convenience here. Next year’s Annual Convention will be held in Regina. Stay tuned, more details to come!
HSAS Welcomes New Executive Council Members
Notice to all HSAS members, please click here to see your 2016-2017 Executive Council.
Here are the newly elected Executive Council Members:
Your Communications Committee is happy to report that over 300,000 Saskatchewan people have seen the campaign. HSAS encourages you to print HSAS profession posters and add them to the HSAS union board in your workplace.
Shepell: Your Employee & Family
Through your employment with the health region, the Shepell Employee and Family Assistance Program provides HSAS members and eligible family members access to a variety of health and wellness resources and tools via phone, in person and online. Click the links below for more information: (all information has been provided by Shepell)