(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

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Glenn Moyer is seeking space on a public wharf in Sicamous in order to restart his water taxi business after a year-long shutdown due to COVID-19. (Glenn’s Water Taxi/Facebook)
Water taxi operator requests public dock moorage in Sicamous

Glenn Moyer, a long time water taxi operator, is brimming with stories of life on the lake

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

New signage was installed leading up to the intersection of 10th Avenue SW and Highway 97B in 2019, but concerns have been raised about continuing danger. (File photo)
Improvements urged for Salmon Arm’s Highway 97B/10th Avenue SE intersection

Council may bring up overpass with transportation ministry as crossing under provincial control

Sicamous Council approved a development permit for a new mobile home park on Hillier road on Wednesday, April 14. (Jim Elliot- Eagle Valley News)
Sicamous council approves development of 35 unit mobile home park

The new development will be located on Hillier Road

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Ford F-350s have been targeted in the North Okanagan by auto thieves since February 2021, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP data shows. (Gene J. Puskar - The Canadian Press/AP file)
Auto thieves target older Ford F-350s in Vernon: RCMP

Vernon Mounties remind all motorists no vehicle is immune to auto crime

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP were present at the McDonalds in Armstrong Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Tomer Joury - Facebook)
Police handle ‘high-risk’ situation at Armstrong residence

A woman was apprehended and taken to hospital under the Mental Health Act; no charges laid

Most Read