HSA scores on-call pay win


HSA has scored a significant victory for Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association members who have been denied on-call pay when they were called back to work.

Under the collective agreement, members receive premium pay for the hours they are scheduled on call. The current rate is $3 an hour for the first 72 hours in a month, and $4.25 per hour for any additional on-call hours.

In October 2002, the Interior Health Authority arbitrarily decided that employees who were called back to work when they were on-call would receive only call-back pay for the period they were at work ... and not the on-call premium.

HSA grieved the practice, arguing that the premium and regular pay are concurrent benefits that do not cancel each other out. Arbitrator Colin Taylor agreed that health science professionals who are on-call and are called in to perform their jobs will continue to receive the on-call premium as well as their call-back pay.

-HSA has been telling the employers for years that on-call is a significant issue for health science professionals," Ron Ohmart, HSA's Executive Director ... Labour Relations, said.

-Because of continued short-sightedness about how to deal with recruitment and retention of highly skilled professionals, many of our members in more remote communities could be on-call on all their regular days off. The premium is an incentive to keep health science professionals in communities that desperately need them," Ohmart added.

The decision does not specifically deal with the issue of retroactive pay for members who have been short-changed since 2002. However, HSA expects employers to comply with the award and pay the premiums that members were entitled to receive.