OSUNO Primetime Vacation Update (May 13, 2020)
Governor’s Stay Safe Order and Out of State Vacation
The most current Governor’s Order allows for out of state travel but requires that anyone who leaves the state for vacation and returns is required to quarantine for fourteen (14) days. OSUNO has confirmed that OSU received this interpretation directly from Columbus Public Health. OSU has shared that they will comply with the Governor’s Order and require nurses who travel out of state to quarantine for fourteen (14) days.
OSU’s Position on Quarantine Following Out of State Vacation
In the May 12 Daily Operations email, Dr. Paz stated that any nurse who is subject to quarantine can use vacation or take unpaid time. Contrary to that, Human Resources stated later that day that nurses would be required to use vacation before being able to use unpaid leave. OSUNO was not given any advance notice of this, has not bargained over this change, and does not agree to this change. We believe the following applies per contract:
- Article 17, Section 2e on page 29 of the contract allows for sick leave usage if the nurse’s presence on the job would jeopardize the health of others, so we believe nurses are allowed to use sick leave for quarantine under the existing contract.
- A nurse who is forced to quarantine should be allowed to use sick time. Per article 17, Section 5: if you’re out of sick time you may choose to use vacation or comp time, or take the time unpaid at your discretion.
OSUNO’s Position on 2020 Primetime Vacation Season
Our Board has developed two additional principles governing how we believe nurses should be treated as we move through the summer 2020 vacation season:
- Existing, approved vacation requests should be honored and cannot be canceled arbitrarily or unilaterally. There is no provision in our contract or existing practice that allows this.
- In the event a unit is short-staffed due to quarantine of staff, the Medical Center should fully and creatively utilize overtime and incentive pay under the contract to make sure units are safely staffed.
Working Together to Get Vacation
The OSUNO Board is proud of and grateful to our members who have stepped up to take care of each other and our patients during COVID. We know that nurses need a break even more than usual. However, because of the Governor’s Order and the circumstances that are affecting us all, we encourage all of our members to work together on each unit in order to make sure that the greatest number of nurses can take the greatest possible amount of vacation time.
Vacation Accrual Cap Extended
Every nurse whose service anniversary date falls between March 22, 2020 and December 31, 2020 will have until their 2021 service anniversary date to use any vacation that accrues over the maximum carryover. However, if a nurse resigns and has accrued vacation over the cap, the maximum payout for vacation remains two hundred forty (240) hours.
OSUNO Files Complaint with OSHA and PERRP Over Lack of PPE and Related Issues (April 28, 2020)
Click here for a copy of the complaint letter. The primary issues in the complaint are:
- Lack of N95s for nurses dealing with COVID patients leading to staff contracting COVID
- Removing N95s from James Comprehensive Cancer Hospital Clinics
- Lack of eye protection
- Lack of sufficient fit testing
OSUNO Encourages All Nurses to File ADOs Related to COVID
Every day our union hears from nurses who are concerned that the conditions under which the nurse is working are subpar or even unsafe. It is critically important that nurses file ADOs when these things happen to make sure there is a record and so we can address it. Unfortunately, we know from experience that OSU upper management is likely to pretend there was no problem if it was not documented. If you or your unit is experiencing any of the following, please file an ADO:
- Insufficient PPE (either amount or type)
- Bad nurse to patient ratio
- No EVS / PCA help
- Insufficient training / orientation
The ADO form, which has a lot more detail, can be found at osuno.com/ado. If you file an ADO, please make sure and send a copy to your OSUNO Board member and/or Labor Rep (see osuno.com/board)
Nurses Who Contract COVID-19 May Be Eligible for Worker’s Compensation
OSUNO strongly recommends that all employees who contract COVID-19 file worker’s compensation claims.
The Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC) has traditionally not considered communicable diseases such as COVID-19 to be compensable claims. However, if an employee works in a job that poses a special hazard or risk of COVID-19 exposure, and the employee contracts COVID-19 from such exposure, the BWC may allow the exposure claim. First responders, medical workers, and numerous other essential employees working in public spaces are likely in greater risk of being exposed to or contracting COVID-19 than the rest of the population. As such, they may have a compensable claim if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 and demonstrate a causal link between their employment and the illness.
An employee contracting COVID-19 after being exposed to it in the course of employment likely constitutes a physical injury and/or occupational disease. Therefore, that employee’s post-exposure testing and treatment of COVID-19 may be covered by the BWC, although the BWC has not explicitly made that statement.
For more information on Worker’s Comp and COVID, see this BWC FAQ.
Unemployment and High Risk
Unemployment has also seen a big change in regulation related to COVID-19. A nurse who is in a high-risk category and is concerned they will be exposed to COVID-19 by coming to the Medical Center, and who is not able to telework and for whom there are not accommodations may qualify for unemployment. Any nurse in this situation should be prepared to get a provider’s note advising them to self-quarantine and be able to provide documentation of the high-risk condition.
Nurses who have seen a partial or complete reduction in your usual number of weekly paid hours (such as IRP nurses) due to COVID should also consider unemployment based on their individual circumstances. For more information on Ohio unemployment, visit the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services website.
Redeployment Float Pay Program (April 24, 2020)
Ineligible for Float Pay
- Eligible nurses are*: Redeployed from home department to provide direct patient care on a nursing unit
- Redeployed to Temperature Screening, Swabbing Stations, COVID Call Center or Employee Health Services (not as a medical accommodation)
- Effective starting 4/12/20, with no retro prior
- Same rate as Float Pay per contract $2.50/hour
- Only applicable through COVID crisis period
*for any unforeseen scenarios that relate to this agreement the parties will bargain over them
- Inpatient units moved to new space with intact unit patients and staff
- Training/Educational/Orientation work for new inpatient nursing redeployment
- Reassigned to new unit as an accommodation due to a medical restriction (includes redeployment to units listed as eligible)
OSUNO-OSU Agreement Regarding Temporary Reassignment (March 17)
By mutual agreement of the parties to the following terms are effective immediately (March 17) subject to change by mutual agreement:
- For all members affected by the reduction in elective procedures/appointments related to COVID-19, we are proposing the following order for alternative work assignments:
- Nurses who are at high-risk should be accommodated appropriately to mitigate risk
- Nurses who have high-risk people at home should be accommodated appropriately to mitigate risk
- Positions needed to maintain operations in the home department should be offered to those by seniority
- Volunteers should be sought based on skill set/preference and granted by seniority
- Nurses placed in appropriate roles by order of seniority
- All COVID-19 related cancellation of hours will count towards the 3 MTO occurrences
Note: This language applies to all nurses, including clinic / outpatient / procedural areas that may have reduced work in the immediate future.
Available ResourcesOSUWMC N95 and Procedure Mask Reuse Guidance SheetCDC Guide to Donning and Doffing PPEODH Testing Algorithm (as of March 7)ODH Testing Procedures (as of March 7)ODH Health Alert (as of March 7)Resources PagesAmerican Federation of TeachersOhio Nurses AssociationOhio Department of HealthCenter for Disease ControlOSUWMC