We want to here from you!
If you are working short, and experience increased workloads, please take the time to complete the survey.
Alberta Health Services has recently dusted off their former Attendance Harassment Program, and has launched a new pilot “Attendance Management Program”. The pilot is currently running in Central Alberta and Environmental Services throughout the province. For many of us, it will look very familiar to the former Capital Health Program, which in the union’s opinion was utilized by managers to bully employees to report to work sick. The new Attendance Management Program although promoted by the Alberta Health Services as a tool to assist employees, it has the potential of being used by managers to once again bully employees into coming to work sick. This is enviably going to becomes a huge problem as managers try to cut their budgets.
Under the program, Alberta Health Services has established a certain number of acceptable days to be sick. Once you have surpassed the number of incidents (days) the manager is prompted to address your attendance. This begins with a meeting, and a letter, which is followed up with more meetings and letters if your attendance does not improve, and the potential end result of termination. They are essentially trying to manage the high number of unanticipated absence and patterns in people’s attendance.
Let’s be perfectly clear, if you are sick, you are sick. You have a right to sick time under the provisions of the collective agreement. Stay home and get better! If you are abusing the provision, you will be called on it.
There are many facets to this program, and far too much to address in this forum. If you are being managed under the “attendance management program”, you have a right to have a union steward present. Contact a steward to understand your rights.
Budget cuts have brought on increased workloads. This is currently the number one complain from Local 54 members. Programs have been directed to slash the budgets, and they try to do that on the backs of the front line general support employees. They fill few vacancies, provide limited vacation coverage, and rarely cover when people are off sick. Day in and day out, so many areas find themselves working short, with the expectation that you will double down, roll up your sleeves and do twice the amount of work. You got your 3% increase now we want you to do double the work. This is not acceptable, nor a reasonable expectation. You are required to come to work, and do your job; however this does not mean doing the work of two or three. If you are continually working short, you need to communicate with your manager. Establish with the manager that the expectation to complete the assigned tasks for the day are likely unattainable.
Request that they clearly define the priorities of the day, (if you are unable to identify them yourself) and communicate that you will work on those first, and endeavor to complete the rest if time permits. You cannot refuse to do work, however you can ask for the priorities and complete what you can in your scheduled shift. Take your breaks, start and end on time. Do not work for free. If something is not getting done, it becomes the responsibility of management. They need to staff accordingly, and not rely on employees to work through breaks and stay late. Working short has many significant concerns for the union, one primarily being the health and safety of the members. If you are working short, document the incident to include date, time and reason for working short. Contact a union steward and report the incident.
In order to assist members with various issues, we are posting a few of our most frequently asked questions.
Can my manager ask for a sick note after only one day of illness?
Yes. The employer is entitled to request satisfactory proof of illness. 29.04 (d) If proof is requested the employer is responsible to pay the fee. The request should be made on an individual basis, and not a blanket provision applied to a department.
Can the manager refuse to pay me sick time, if I do not give 2 hours notice when calling in sick?
No. The sick time article does not allow them to refuse pay for not providing at least 2 hours notice. If they manager is refusing to pay, it is a form of discipline and you should contact the union to file a grievance. You should however try to give as much notice when calling in sick.
If I tell me manager I have a medical appointment, can they refuse to give me the time off for it?
Yes, your manager may deny time off for medical appointments. Under the terms of the collective agreement, the employer requires advance notice, and has the right to approve or deny requests. The manager has the right to request you schedule the appointment for another time, for operational reasons. If the manger refuses to provide you leave for medical appointments, ask when a better time is to take the appointment. The manager may also request that you provide satisfactory proof of attendance at the appointment. 29.04 (e). If the manager continually denies all your requests for medical appointments contact a union steward for assistance.
Does my manager have to approve my vacation requests within a certain period of time?
Yes. The manager is to provide a response to vacation requests within 14 days of the request being submitted, 28.03 (g). This only applies to ad hoc requests submitted after April 30th, outside the rules associated with the vacation planner.
Why does someone new to my department have more seniority than me?
Seniority is based on the bargaining unit. This means, your seniority is based on the total time you have been employed with Alberta Health Services. When you are promoted or transferred your seniority will follow you anywhere within Alberta Health Services.
Any break in service with AHS, will mean a new seniority date.
Am I required to provide proof of death in order to be granted and paid bereavement leave?
The collective agreement does not provide language that allows the employer to request satisfactory proof of death. There maybe extenuating circumstances that would potentially allow managers to request proof, exercising their management rights, under Article 5 of the collective agreement.
How many days do I get for bereavement leave?
Bereavement leave is upon your request, (not necessarily as soon as you became aware) and is for 5 calendar days for most relatives. (Article 32.03 a – provides the details) Five calendar days begins as soon as you request the leave, and includes days off, and scheduled vacation. The employer is not required to change scheduled vacation to bereavement. The employer may grant up to one working day for another relative or close friend in to attend the funeral.
Travel time may be granted but you must be travelling in order to be considered for the additional two days.
If my manager tells me to share my password, or remain logged in for another person to use, can I be disciplined?
Yes. Under no circumstances should you share your passwords with anyone this includes your manager. You should not allow anyone to work under your sign on. Always log off, when you leave your computer. You are held 100 % responsible for anything done on the computer under your log in, regardless of whether it was you or someone else. If your manager is directing you to share your password, or directing you to remain logged in for others to use, report this immediately to the union or Human Resources. Your manager is in direct violation of Alberta Health Services if they are directing you to do the above.
Can I look up my information or someone else’s health information?
Absolutely not! You sign an agreement upon commencing employment with Alberta Health Services. Only access information that is required for you to do your job. Nothing more. Curiosity can result in termination.
Can I bring a steward to every meeting with my manager?
No. The role of a union steward is not to attend every meeting with your manager. A manager needs to manage the workplace, and will meet with employees for numerous reasons. You also need to be able to communicate with your manager. Meetings to discuss performance or requests for leave would be an example of situations where stewards are not required. A union steward is required when the meeting could lead to discipline. You can use any steward at any site.
Can I choose my union representation?
Absolutely you can! It is completely your responsibility to arrange and select a union steward/representation. Under no circumstances should your manager or Human resources be arranging the union representation. If you arrive at a meeting and the Union Steward or Membership Services Officer is already present. You have a right to refuse that representation, and request the meeting be rescheduled allowing you time to find the representation of your choice. Recent arbitration awards support this. Discipline has been overturned due to the employer violating the Collective Agreement. Article 9.04
For what reasons can I take special leave days?
Special leave days are for emergencies and family illness. (Unanticipated circumstances-emergencies) Special leave days cannot be prescheduled and you will be required to provide basic details for the need for special leave. You will not likely get a special leave day for planned surgery for a family member. You will also not likely be approved more than one day at a time. The employer is of the opinion that an emergency only lasts one day. Each case needs to be assessed on its own merits, and the union does not agree with the employers approach. Special leave days are granted at the discretion of the mangers, so one manager may approve for an emergency and another will deny for the exact same reason. If you are denied a special leave day, and believe it meets the requirements contact a union steward for assistance.
There is no such provision or term called Personal Day under the Collective Agreement.
Can the employer change my rotation if I was hired full-time days?
Your schedule can be changed at any time, as long as the manger provides sufficient notice and adheres to the provisions of the hours of work article. The employer is obligated to meet your FTE only and has the right to change schedules. You may have signed an offer letter, which outlined a particular schedule, but this does not override the employer’s right to change schedules.
I work part-time and do not want to work additional hours; do I have to when my manager asks?
No. You are only required to work the hours of your FTE. If you want to work additional hours, it is your responsibility to provide availability. Additional hours are to be shared equally amongst those who have made themselves available.
I work in a department where we are assigned work areas, and my manager keeps pulling me from my regular area. Can I refuse?
You cannot refuse assignment to another area. Refusing to do the work assigned could be considered insubordination. You do not own your area, only your FTE. The employer can have you report to different areas, and departments/classifications have you work a different site. This happens a great deal in community health and facilities management. If you disagree with being moved to another area, go do the work, and talk to the union after for advice.
I work 6-hour shifts. If my manager asks me to work 7.5 hours do I get overtime for the additional hours?
No. Overtime is triggered once you exceed 7.75 hours in a day, and 77.50 hours in two weeks averaged over a shift cycle. You do not have to accept the additional hours.
Can my manager reduce my FTE?
If the manager reduces your FTE in part or in whole, this is a lay-off. There is a process to follow, which requires the involvement of the Union and Human Resources. Contact the union immediately, if there is any discussion on reducing your FTE.
Can my manager deny my vacation request because I do not have the total hours of my request in my banks when I make the request?
No. They need to determine if you will have the amount at the time you go on vacation. So, what you will have accrued by the time you start vacation. This is the total amount of both banks, current and next year. Reference the vacation article in the Collective Agreement, which can be found on the AUPE site, and AHS Iniste.
If I am successful on a new position and do not like it can I return to my former position?
Yes. You can return to your former position within 465 hours or to a maximum of 6 months for a Part-time employee (see Article 17). The employer can also return you to your former position if they believe you are not the appropriate fit.
Can I return to my former position at the end of a Temporary position?
Yes. Refer to Article 17
If I have an issue, complaint or grievance do I have a certain time line to address the problem?
You cannot wait to raise an issue or problem. You need to identify the problem and seek resolution in a timely manner. A grievance needs to be filed within 10 days of becoming aware of the incident. For example, if you were wrongfully denied a special leave day, you cannot wait months to bring the issue forward. If you are paid incorrectly, you need to address it immediately. You have a responsibility to review your pay stubs when issued. You also have a responsibility to know the collective agreement. If there has been a violation, address it immediately with a union steward.
A grievance is not a “bad” thing and is not perceived as “rocking the boat”. A grievance allows for a formal discussion, and opportunity to resolve an issue or correct how a manager is applying the collective agreement. The collective agreement is to be followed by both parties, as both parties voted and agreed on those terms. Grievances also allow the union to identify and track issues that need to be addressed in collective bargaining.