OHSU and AURN/ONA Reach Agreement on FMLA/OFLA Eligibility Language
On January 1, OHSU changed its prior practice regarding what hours counted as “hours worked” for the purpose of determining employee qualifying eligibility for FMLA and OFLA leave. OHSU had been including paid leave time as “hours worked” and said that was an error. We issued a Demand to Bargain and Request to Rescind, both of which OHSU agreed to do. We also agreed that this issue would be a good one for the IBB process.
During our third session on April 21, we reached a Tentative Agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding that OHSU will continue to include all vacation hours used (not just annually allotted hours used), paid holiday hours used, and paid administrative leave imposed by the Employer as “hours worked” towards the FMLA 1250 hours requirement and OFLA 25 hours/week requirement. We will also be receiving clarifying language in a separate letter regarding the application of personal leave to medical leave. One of our main arguments that was very persuasive was that a substantial number of nurses are less than full time, and in particular, those with .5 or .6 FTE status would be potentially be forced to choose between going on vacation or a planned FMLA leave (surgery, birth of a child, etc.) if by taking their vacation they ended up falling below 1250 hours worked for the previous year. It was acknowledged that nurses often have a difficult enough of a time utilizing their vacation, without an additional deterrent put into place. OHSU’s concern was with the potential abuse regarding the use of sick leave and intermittent FMLA, and that by continuing to count paid sick leave as hours worked could lead to “double dipping.”
As equally exciting, although AFSCME members were affected as well by the change on January 1, and did not choose to bargain over the issue, we were informed that OHSU will also extend the same benefit to AFSCME members as well, to be fair. I tried to find similar FMLA language that we just negotiated elsewhere, including WNA contracts, and could not, so this is exciting.
The ONA/AURN team consisted of AURN President Katy Cooper, RN, Phyllis Lee (South OR), and Tresa Cavanaugh, ONA, Labor Relations Representative.