COVID update: Enhanced MOA on redeployment, shift disruptions and more

Publish date: Tuesday, December 01, 2020

COVID-19

MNU members

Workplace issues/practices

Dear members,

I’m pleased to advise that after several weeks of intensive negotiations with the provincial employer group, we have agreed to a new Memorandum of Agreement on Pandemic Responsiveness to address redeployment, shift disruptions, and more.

The impact of COVID-19 is something that none of us working in the health care system have ever seen in our lifetimes. Nurses across the system are facing unprecedented challenges, and many are working incredibly long, difficult hours to meet the growing needs across the system.

Under MNU collective agreements, employers have the ability to invoke Article 10 in the event of an emergency. Article 10 is an employer tool that enables them to require nurses to perform duties as assigned despite any contrary provision in the collective agreement. An Article 10 invocation can be extremely disruptive for nurses, affecting hours of work, assignments, and much more. It also doesn’t outline any specific compensation—rather it notes that compensation for unusual working conditions related to the emergency will be determined by later discussion.

To be clear: to date no employer in the province has invoked Article 10. However, as the pressure on our health care system increases, and given the extraordinarily difficult circumstances many nurses are facing, MNU sought to reach an agreement for our members that would provide as much certainty and security as possible, along with some much-needed recognition.

This new MOA builds on previously negotiated MOAs, addresses a number of outstanding issues related to equity and eligibility, and enhances the premiums extended to nurses working in areas of critical need, who have had their schedules disrupted, or who have been redeployed.

Though employers still have the right to declare an Article 10, our hope is that this agreement significantly mitigates the need for such a declaration. Even in the event of a declaration, many of the provisions of this agreement will remain in effect, affording a degree of certainty and security for affected nurses.

The full text of the MOA is available here (PDF) and I encourage all nurses to review it.

Below are some highlights of key provisions:

  • For nurses in a hospital setting:
    • Where a nurse is currently working in, or redeployed to a designated inpatient COVID unit, a unit with 50% or more COVID patients, a unit designated as in outbreak, or an ICU they will be provided with an hourly top up of $5.00 or $6.00 per hour, including overtime. Refer to Sections 8 and 9 for details.
  • For nurses in Personal Care Homes:
    • An hourly premium of $6.00 per hour, including overtime, will be provided to all nurses working in publicly-controlled facilities (those facilities represented at central-table bargaining). Refer to Section 7 for details.
  • Shift disruption allowance:
    • Significant changes to a nurses’ schedule, including adjustments to shift start and end times that are greater than 1 hour, changes to days assigned, changes to shift lengths or shift patterns garner a premium that ranges from $25 to $50 per affected shift, depending on the extend of the change. Refer to Section 5 for details.
  • Regarding redeployment procedures: Employers needing assistance are required to notify MNU. They are required to first ask for volunteers who are qualified for the work. If there are not enough volunteers, the least senior, qualified nurse will be redeployed. Nurses with compelling personal health issues, child or elder care needs should identify themselves, either to your current manager or your MNU Representative, as these factors ought to be considered in any redeployment scenario. Refer to Section 4 for details.
  • For nurses redeployed to the Northern Health Region (above the 53rd parallel) from any other health region (except Churchill):
    • Nurse(s) Redeployed will receive a Northern Redeployment Allowance of $500.00 per bi-weekly pay period for working the minimum equivalent of full-time hours (eg. 77.5 hours), or $250 for working the minimum of half of the equivalent of full-time hours (eg. 38.75) within a seven day period contained therein. 
    • Nurses who are Redeployed shall receive a Redeployment Travel Allowance of $180.00 for each day worked. 
    • Travel expenses will be reimbursed and actual travel time will be paid at the nurse’s regular rate of pay. Refer to Section 10 for details.
  • Nurses already employed in the Northern Health Region who volunteer to work additional available or overtime shifts outside of their home community will receive an allowance of $50.00 per 8-hour shift worked, or $75.00 per 12-hour shift worked. These nurses are also entitled to the provisions in the MOU Re Relief Work in the NRHA MNU Collective Agreement.
  • Nurse Practitioners who are assigned to work additional hours on a non-voluntary basis by the Employer, or agree to volunteer to be redeployed or reassigned as per this MOA, shall be paid at the appropriate rates of overtime and receive premiums (weekend/nights/evenings) as prescribed in the respective applicable collective agreements as for nurses in other classifications, for the duration of this agreement.

The agreement and the premiums highlighted therein are retroactive to November 1, 2020, and most of the provisions will extend until the end of the pandemic, with some important exceptions noted in Section 7 regarding Personal Care Homes.

Again, members should refer to the full text of the agreement for details (PDF).

This MOA represents an important acknowledgement from government of many of the significant challenges that nurses have and will continue to face during this pandemic. Though we know there is still more to do to ensure all Manitoba nurses receive some form of recognition and support, this agreement is a critical first step in the right direction.

Rest assured discussions with government will continue, and we hope to have more to share on PPE and other important matters with members very soon.

We will continue to advocate forcefully on behalf of nurses, and we will share further developments as we are able.

If you have questions about the application of the new MOA, please contact your LRO or Local/Worksite President.

In solidarity,

Darlene Jackson
President
Manitoba Nurses Union

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