Every penny counts

Last month, Kamloops This Week's Dale Bass reported the Interior Health Authority is "asking its non-contract employees to give up 10 days of pay" as part of a voluntary reduced work week pilot program designed to help address its 2009/10 "budget challenges." According to an email authored by the authority's chief human resources officer Brenda Rebman and obtained by Public Eye, that initiative is "related" to a similar program already underway in the provincial government. But what the email doesn't mention is the fact only five percent of civil servants signed-up for that government program, saving just $2 million. This, according to The Tyee's Andrew Macleod. The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned email.

Interior Health
June 24, 2009
To: All Non-Contract Employees
From: Brenda Rebman, Chief Human Resources Officer
Re: Voluntary Reduced Work Week Pilot Program for Non-Contract Employees

Over the past few months, our CEO Murray Ramsden has been encouraging staff to provide suggestions for finding operational savings to help address Interior Health's 2009/10 budget challenges. Many ideas have been submitted for consideration and several are related to Human Resources. I appreciate and value this input as my experience has shown that the best ideas for change often come from the employees working within the system.

I have been reviewing all suggestions, in consultation with other relevant areas, to determine which strategies could make a difference for the organization. One idea, related to a Voluntary Reduced Work Week Pilot Program that is underway in the Provincial Government, definitely has merit and could help us meet our budget targets for the upcoming year. As a result, we would like to offer this voluntary program to non-contract staff, in positions that have been identified as eligible, for a limited time only - between July 13, 2009 and September 18, 2009.

The Details

* Participation in this program is completely, entirely and unquestioningly voluntary.
* Managers will be identifying positions and/or departments within their portfolio that are eligible for the offer and discussing this voluntary option with employees in those positions.
* All employees must have supervisor approval before enrolling.
* Interior Health will offer a minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 10 days of unpaid leave to eligible employees.
* The choice of unpaid days is at the manager's discretion and will be negotiated between the employee and the manager. However, the unpaid days off cannot be combined into one extended absence (i.e., 10 work days off in a row).
* The enrollment period for this program is from June 24 - July 8, 2009.
* Once the enrollment period is over, only those who submitted an approved application form will be able to participate. The offer will not be extended beyond July 8, 2009.
* Once committed, participants must fulfill their agreement to take their voluntary leave without pay over the ten week period from July 13 - September 18, 2009.
* This program will not result in overtime or additional hours worked at another time.
* This program will not impact the vacation, pension or benefits of employees who participate.

Sign Up

In order to participate in the Voluntary Reduced Work Week Pilot Program, follow these simple steps:
* Review the "Frequently Asked Questions" document that is included with this email.
* Speak with your supervisor or manager to see if your request can be accommodated.
* Complete the attached application form and have your supervisor sign off.
* Return the completed application form to Elaine Lewis, HR Strategic Services by July 8, 2009 (HR Strategic Services, Kirschner Plaza; email elaine.lewis@interiorhealth.ca; or fax 250-870-4722)
* Any questions about the program should be directed to your supervisor or Human Resources Director.

I would like to emphasize that this program will not result in reductions to core services or in any way impact direct patient care. In addition, it will not interrupt current service levels provided to clients/patients or other departments. Departments with eligible positions, that provide support to other areas, will ensure appropriate coverage is in place.

2 Comments

One has to wonder when these "cost saving" measures will become mandatory rather than voluntary....

This is quite funny.

Pretend you are a life long civil servant.

This email appears in your in-box.

Could you be absent from your job for 5 or 10 days without any impact? *rubs chin thoughtfully* hmmm .. then you think about how many personal days or sick days you've taken in the past few years. 'yeah sure' you think, I could easily take off 10 days of work with no impact... NOW this is where it gets funny. Your average civil servant with even half a brain follows this thought process to the next logical step. If I can be away from my job for 10+ days a year in addition to my 5+ weeks vacation, unlimited sick days, and various 'personal days' what's to stop 'them' from reducing my work load permanently which means I won't be able to take all the sick days, personal days etc and get paid for them anymore.

Suddenly taking off 5 or 10 days without pay is no longer attractive, no matter how easy it woul dbe.

Frankly I'm shocked so many have taken the government up on the offer!!

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