(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

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attend an apartment fire on the morning of April 11 in a building at 521 Fulton Str. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Sunday morning fire rouses tenants

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attended an apartment fire at 521 Fulton St.

Bears are waking up hungry and starting to forage, Conservation Officer Service said on April 9. Prince Residents are advised to keep garbage in sealed containers to lessen bear attraction. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Keep bears wild – they are not teddy bears

Conservation Officer Service warns bears are waking up hungry

Prince Rupert couple Alvin Tait and Loni Martin have postponed their wedding two times due to COVID-19 affecting the marriage rates in Prince Rupert. (Photo: supplied/L.Martin)
No marriages in Prince Rupert in 2021 so far

Weddings down 23.9% in P.R. since COVID-19 with B.C. wedding industry loss at $158 million

Three North Coast organizations are granted funding to promote multiculturalism and support anti-racism, Jennifer Rice MLA announced on April 8. Conrad Elementary School students recognized the first Black Shirt Day on January 15, 2021, to advocate for anti-racism. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
North Coast organizations to benefit from anti-racism funding

$944,000 granted in provincial funding to aid multiculturalism

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Most Read