Many members have questions about the unfair new absenteeism policy imposed by management at Rhode Island Hospital. While we fight the policy, we also want to inform members so you can protect yourself and enforce your rights. Here are answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
When Does the New Policy Take Effect?
Management declared the new absenteeism policy will take effect on January 1. Employees will be governed under this policy until the NLRB or an arbitrator rules differently. That’s unfair, but that is the law.
How Do Occurrences Work Under the Policy?
Starting January 1, occurrences will be counted differently. The first time you are absent for two to five days, it will count as one occurrence.
After that, every day that you are absent will count as an occurrence. So if you miss three days with the flu, that will count as three occurrences. In the past, it counted as one.
Remember, the first time that you are absent for two to five days, it will be treated as one occurrence. This resets every 12 months. That means if 12 months pass without you having a 2-5 day absence, then your next 2-5 day absence would only count as one occurrence.
How Many Occurrences Are You Allowed Before There is Discipline?
Full-time employees are allowed seven occurrences per year before discipline starts. The eighth occurrence will result in a verbal warning. The eleventh occurrence in a year will mean termination.
How Does Discipline Work for Part-Timers?
For part-time employees, the number of permitted occurrences depends on the number of hours you worked in the last calendar year.
If you averaged 20 hours a week in 2016, you will get 4 occurrences before discipline starts. Employees will get a verbal warning on the fifth occurrence, leading up to termination on the eighth occurrence.
If you averaged 30 hours per week in 2016, you will be allowed five occurrences before there is any discipline, with a verbal warning on the sixth occurrence, leading up to termination on the ninth occurrence.
What Are Other Changes?
There are several other unfair changes.
If you do not call in within one hour of the start of your shift, you will be considered a No Call No Show.
If you have to leave work before half of your day is over, that will count as an unexcused absence and an occurrence.
If you are denied a day off and then have an unexcused absence, it will count as two occurrences!
If you have an unexcused absence during a weekend shift, it will count as two occurrences and management can schedule you to work a different weekend shift within the next three months! (This rule does not apply to weekend-only employees).
Did Local 251 Agree To these Changes?
Absolutely not! Local 251 opposed these changes. We forced management into negotiations where we opposed the changes and proposed a fair policy.
After a couple of meetings, management declared the end of negotiations. We are taking legal action, including a grievance and an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.
What Happens Now?
Local 251 and UNAP are taking united action against the new policy. We will be holding a joint membership meeting soon.
We oppose the new policy, but under the law we cannot stop management from enforcing it starting on January 1.
While we fight the policy, we will also inform members so you can protect yourself and enforce your rights.