Hospital Professionals Division Wage Reopener Update: Supplementary decision

HPD - Hospital Professionals Division / DPH - Division des professionnels hospitaliers

As previously communicated, on January 29th we had a hearing to address an issue arising from arbitrator William Kaplan’s reopener award (released August 3, 2023) related to the correct entitlements to the pandemic pay lump sum for temporary employees and permanent employees in temporary vacancies.

The primary issue in dispute is that at many hospitals, permanent part-time and casual employees in temporary full-time positions as of August 13, 2020 were paid the part-time lump sum instead of the full-time entitlement. Your bargaining team argued that these members should have received the full-time entitlement as they were actively working in full-time positions at that time.

Arbitrator Kaplan’s decision on this issue can be found here. Unfortunately, Kaplan did not agree with our interpretation and ruled in favor of the Ontario Hospital Association. As a result, the following applies to temporary employees and permanent employees in temporary vacancies with respect to pandemic pay entitlement:

Permanent Employees:

  • Entitlement to pandemic pay for permanent employees is based on their permanent employment status as of August 13, 2020. What this means is that if a permanent part-time or casual member was filling a temporary full-time vacancy on August 13, 2020 they are entitled to the part-time or casual pandemic pay lump sum payment, not the full-time amount. Inversely, if a permanent full-time employee was filling a temporary part-time vacancy on August 13, 2020, they would be entitled to the full-time pandemic pay lump sum payment.
  • In his decision, Kaplan states that “eligibility for pandemic pay, as required by our award, does not turn on what, if anything, a full-time, part-time or casual employee happened to be doing on August 13, 2020. It mattered only that they maintained formal employee status within the bargaining unit on that date.” As such, the award does not consider how many hours a member was working during that period, only what their permanent employment status was with the hospital at the time.

Temporary Employees:

  • An employee hired externally to fill a temporary vacancy would be entitled to the lump sum payment based upon the nature of their temporary employment status. For example, if hired to fill a temporary full-time vacancy, the individual would receive the full-time pandemic pay entitlement. If hired to fill a temporary part-time vacancy, they would receive the part-time pandemic pay entitlement.

Employees on Leaves of Absence

  • The decision confirms that employees on a leave of absence as of August 13, 2020 are entitled to receive the pandemic pay lump sum. To qualify, a member need only be in the bargaining unit as of August 13, 2020. The award expressly states that it was not the arbitrator’s intention to disentitle members on a leave of absence.

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