(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

B.C. paramedics worry end of job-share will spark burnout as agreement set to end April 1

Union, BCEHS have until April 1 to come to a new agreement

A move by B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) to discontinue a job sharing agreement for 36 paramedics and dispatchers could lead to further burnout, according to CUPE 873 spokesperson Jessica Chilton.

Chilton said that the job-share program has been available since at least 2005 and allows paramedics and dispatchers to share one job.

“In four on, four off situation what we typically see is one person would work two shifts and the other person would work the other two shifts,” Chilton told Black Press Media by phone Wednesday (March 10).

“It seems like a small number [of people] to impact but the decision has been motivated – from what we’ve been told – due to administrative purposes and systematic requirements.”

Chilton said that while staff who take part in the job-share program may work part-time hours, they would lose benefits if they moved to true part-time work.

“They would have to change their employment status and then the ramifications of that are that it could impede their ability to bid on future position, it can affect their vacation, their holidays, their pension,” she said. “It comes with sacrifices.”

Paramedics and dispatchers who choose to move to full-time work could be making other trade-offs, Chilton said, including family time and their mental health.

“From the members who have contacted us so far… the majority affected are women, and the overwhelming majority of them are working mothers that are using these job-shares to attempt to balance the demands of their career with the needs of their families.”

Paramedics and dispatchers often work shifts that don’t work well with existing child care that is designed for a standard 9-5 work day.

“It makes it very very challenging for them to find appropriate care under those circumstances,” Chilton said, regardless if they are working moms or dads.

Many paramedics and dispatchers also began job share to help with their mental health, she added.

“Essentially, using the job-share as a form of self accommodation so they can balance their mental health needs… and their career and provide the best care possible to their patients.”

Chilton said that cancelling job-share at this moment has only increased that burden, particularly during a now year-long pandemic and an overdose crisis that shows no signs of ending.

“At this point there’s no resolution or agreement that’s been put forward that works within the confines of our collective agreement,” she said. “We haven’t engaged in in-depth conversation. We’re hoping to have this resolved by April 1. We’re hoping to rectify this before [the members] have to make these very difficult decisions for themselves and their families.”

In an email, BCEHS spokesperson Sarah Morris said that the organization is “committed to continuing to offer our employees job-sharing arrangements.”

Morris said that while the existing job-share agreements would be terminated by April 1, “we fully intend to offer the 36 affected employees new agreements.”

ALSO READ: After a night of one-hour waits for ambulances, union goes public with concerns

p>


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wife and husband duo Alexis Esseltine and Timothy Scoon n took over Penticton’s Tin Whistle Brewing in October, 2020 and are making their mark on the iconic brew-spot by announcing a new look and an environmental focus. (Contributed)
Penticton’s original brewery goes eco-friendly under new ownership

Tin Whistle Brewing is now one of the first certified carbon neutral breweries in B.C.

Osoyoos Lake. (File)
Osoyoos recognizes community’s many volunteers

There were 17 nominees and winners for 2019 and 2020

Courtesy of pixaby
A call for after-hour vet care in Penticton can’t be met with crisis level vet shortages

Kelowna is only option for pet emergencies in all of Okanagan

A house fire that sent smoke billowing through a Penticton neighbourhood Wednesday, April 21, 2021 was extinguished before any irreversible damage was done. (Facebook photo)
Residents unharmed in second alarm Penticton house fire

Heavy black smoke was seen coming from the back of the Alexander Street home Wednesday night

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP arrested a suspected impaired driver who took an unauthorized short cut to a Coldstream roadway. (File photo)
Impaired driver on slippery slope with Vernon RCMP

Person caught leaving locked Coldstream parking lot by taking unauthorized shortcut to roadway

A police officer stands by a kayak that overturned on Mission Creek in Kelowna on Thursday, April 22. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kayakers flip in Kelowna’s Mission Creek, lose two boats

Two overturned kayaks were spotted floating down the waterway on Thursday, kayaker says everybody made it out safely

Are you considering any ambitious home renovation projects? The Okanagan Regional Library can help. (Black Press file photo)
COLUMN: Redecorate your home with help from the library

Plenty of resources in place for home decoration projects

Peyton Slind enjoys the fruits of his labour. Photo submitted
B.C. youngster builds hammock out of 900 plastic bags

“I’m going to enjoy it until it splits in half.”

(Photo: pixabay.com)
Near miss between small plane and drone above downtown Kelowna

The drone came within 200 feet of colliding with the small aircraft

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Most Read