Our new tentative agreement builds on the important advances we have made to protect members' health and safety, and will go a long way to ensuring nurses can provide the highest level of professional care without fear of injury or violence.
During the last round of bargaining, we successfully negotiated a provincial violence-prevention framework that has translated into enhanced violence prevention training, procedures and security at targeted high-risk sites.
We are unwavering in our commitment to build on this culture of safety, but we also believe that improvements to our occupational health and safety program should not come at the expense of other bargaining priorities. New language in the proposed agreement now makes it clear that all provisions in Article 32 – OH&S Program – are designed to strengthen the existing provisions of the
Workers' Compensation Act and related regulations.
Building on the provisions within the current agreement, a new joint working group will be established within 90 days of ratification that will make recommendations for the establishment of a provincial health sector occupational health and safety (OH&S) framework. This framework will be proactive, informed by evidence and mandated to continuously improve both the physical and psychological health and safety of nurses.
This group will be responsible for many existing OH&S projects such as member education, improved Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee functioning and effectiveness and implementation of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
SUPPORTING SAFETY ADVOCATES
Violence-prevention training provided by employers under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on Workplace Violence Prevention will now be improved. An appropriate level of refresher training will be offered to all employees on an annual basis in addition to employees in new positions. The employer also agrees to provide paid OH&S supervisory training to any nurse whose job duties require supervision or direction.
ENHANCED DISABILITY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
The Enhanced Disability Management Program (EDMP) is a proactive, customized disability management program designed to help members suffering from an illness or injury. EDMP representatives provide support for members returning to work or transitioning to long-term disability benefits. The proposed contract provides additional funding for six new EDMP representatives, bringing the total from 11 to 17.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION LEAVE IMPROVEMENTS
The employer will now include all additional shifts worked by part-time employees and all shift premiums when calculating the "regular net take-home wages" that are placed in an employee's disability management file after a WorkSafeBC claim is made. Employees' benefits and wages will also be maintained while claims for violence-related injuries or illnesses are adjudicated.
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