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From LPN to RN/RPN

  • Bulletin; Contract
New agreement addresses seniority-related benefits of nurses who have changed classifications

An agreement between the BC Nurses’ Union and the Health Employers Association of BC has been reached that addresses the application of RN/RPN seniority of any LPN who, since moving into BCNU after April 15, 2013, has obtained registration as an RN/RPN. 

Two distinct seniority lists – one for LPNs and one for RN/RPNs – will now be used when determining any seniority-related benefits such as job postings, displacement choices and vacation selection. For example, under the agreement, an employee cannot use their LPN seniority to access an RN/RPN vacancy posting, or vice versa.

Where an LPN becomes an RN/RPN and wishes to obtain RN/RPN work, they must provide their employer with their RN/RPN registration (which may be temporary). RN/RPN seniority will then be assigned retroactively from the date of registration in accordance with the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) collective agreement, but in any case no earlier than April 15, 2013. 

The following examples illustrate the terms of the agreement:

Example 1

An LPN works in a regular full-time position and has a seniority date of September 30, 2007. They complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in May of 2016 and provide their employer with a proof of CRNBC registration dated May 15, 2016. This triggers the application of RN/RPN seniority for the nurse as follows:

All seniority earned between April 15, 2013 and May 15, 2016 (the date of registration) as a regular full-time nurse is applied as RN/RPN seniority. In this example it equates to 6,012 hours (3 years and 1 month at 1,950 hours per year). 

This RN/RPN seniority is then frozen and may be used to bid into RN/RPN vacancies. The seniority will not activate until the nurse begins working as an RN/RPN in a regular position or is accepted onto a casual list by their employer. 

The seniority of a new RN/RPN will be affected by the kind of work they obtain and the start date. Using the above example, three different work outcomes would result based on the following scenarios:

  • Scenario A: The nurse accepts an unfilled RN/RPN regular vacancy. Their first day in the regular RN/RPN position is June 1, 2016 so their 6,012 hours is applied retroactively from that date, which results in a seniority date of May 1, 2013.

  • Scenario B: The nurse accepts a regular part-time RN/RPN position but does not start working in the line until September 30, 2016. Their first day in this regular RN/RPN position is September 30, 2016 so their 6,012 hours is applied retroactively from that date, which results in a seniority date of August 1, 2013 (regular part-time and regular full-time positions both gain year-for-year seniority).

  • Scenario C: The nurse is accepted to work on the RN/RPN casual list on the medical unit. Their RN/RPN seniority of 6,012 hours is activated and available to access casual work as soon as the new RN/RPN is officially placed onto the casual list.

Example 2

An LPN who came into the NBA from the Facilities Bargaining Association currently works casual status with 10,500 hours of seniority.  They complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in May 2016 and provide their employer with proof of CRNBC registration dated May 15, 2016 which triggers the application of retroactive RN/RPN seniority for the nurse as follows:

All casual LPN hours worked between April 15, 2013 and the date of RN/RPN registration (May 15, 2016) would be credited to RN/RPN seniority. In this example, the LPN worked 3,600 casual hours (approximately 1,200 per year) since April 15, 2013. (Note: casuals cannot accrue more than 1,950 hours of seniority per year.) This nurse would be credited 3,600 hours of RN/RPN seniority which may be used to bid into RN/RPN vacancies. If the nurse took a regular RN/RPN position the 3,600 hours would be converted to a seniority date. The nurse would maintain their 10,500 hours of seniority on the LPN list. 

A member who works as both an LPN and an RN/RPN will be affected accordingly:

• They will accrue seniority for work as an LPN on the LPN list and will accrue seniority for work as an RN/RPN on the RN/RPN list.

• If they are only actively working in one classification the seniority in the other classification (LPN or RN/RPN) will be frozen until they begin again to work in that classification.

• After May 31, 2017, they cannot work in multiple LPN/RN/RPN positions that total greater than 1.0 FTE within the same employer (e.g.,  a 0.6 part-time LPN at one worksite and a 0.5 RPN at another worksite within the same health authority). They must advise their employer by April 1, 2017 which position they will relinquish to bring their FTE down to 1.0 or less.

• They cannot maintain separate statuses (regular and casual) after May 31, 2017, and must advise their employer by April 1, 2017 which status they will relinquish.  Although  they may continue to work in both classifications (LPN and RN), they  will only be considered to have one status for collective agreement purposes.

E.g., a part-time LPN (regular status) who picks up extra shifts as an RN/RPN will earn seniority hours for the extra RN/RPN shifts credited to their RN/RPN seniority, but is considered regular status.

• Their rate of pay is attached to the classification (i.e., work as an LPN is paid at the LPN rate, and likewise for RN/RPN work). However, an RN/RPN not actively working as an LPN (seniority is frozen) will be paid at their current RN/RPN rate for work in either classification. This will usually occur only where an LPN shift cannot be filled by an LPN and the employer brings in an RN/RPN.

All seniority from both lists is portable subject to the conditions of Article 51 – Portability of the NBA collective agreement.

Important Notice

RN/RPNs who were previously LPNs and who lost seniority or service after April 15, 2013, and believe that their seniority/service has not been reinstated, should contact their employer’s Human Resources Data department and BCNU steward for assistance. They may be entitled to retroactive reinstatement of that seniority and service. 


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