A January 28 arbitrator’s decision has put major limitations on a Vancouver Coastal Health Authority program that targets employees with higher than average absences from work.
The BC Nurses’ Union argued that because it negotiated a collective agreement program – the Enhanced Disability Management Program (EDMP) – the employer should not be allowed to unilaterally use its own Attendance and Wellness Promotion (AWP) program in its place.
Arbitrator Vince Ready agreed with BCNU’s argument that the negotiated EDMP trumps AWP. While not eliminating the AWP program entirely, the decision narrows the program’s scope significantly.
The decision says that the employer cannot include an employee in an AWP program if they are in the EDMP. This includes members who are off work for five or more consecutive shifts, off work with a work-related illness or injury, or who have self-referred and been accepted into the EDMP.
EDMP is a comprehensive disability management program that is supportive and collaborative. It was negotiated as part of the Nurses’ Bargaining Association provincial collective agreement, and the Ready decision should act as a precedent in other health authorities.
The union strongly encourages any worker who would benefit to contact EDMP. If you are struggling at work or having difficulty with attendance, consider self-referring to EDMP.
The arbitration began in April 2012 and is ongoing, with other aspects of BCNU’s grievance yet to be resolved. The union continues to argue that the AWP program violates privacy rights and nurses’ professional standards and that it is fundamentally a disciplinary and punitive program rather than one that is focused on wellness.
For more information on the Enhanced Disability Management program, please contact EDMP administrator Lani deHek: firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-433-2268 ext. 2196.
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