Wondering what is the hold up with the pay incentives?

Late last January WSNA proposed to SJMC management we negotiate pay incentives that were fair and simple to understand that would take effect when incentives that were in place were set to expire, which was March 5, 2022. Although we were told we would hear back the next day we did not. Therefore, when we had our Conference Committee meeting on Feb. 16, 2022, we again inquired about the incentives that were going to expire. On March 1, 2022 we finally received management’s proposals for both SJMC and St Clare.

The WSNA Local Unit Officers from both hospitals and nurse rep spent many hours trying to reach an agreement before the incentives expired. Unfortunately, that did not happen and we are continuing to try to come to an agreement. We are not disputing the amount of the incentives but are in disagreement with some of the language including disqualifying a nurse from receiving incentives if they use the Family Care Act and WA Sick Leave. We believe the Department of Labor & Industries FAQs are consistent with our interpretation of that law esb1.pdf (wa.gov)

The State of Washington Department of Labor and Industries Employment Standards Administrative Policy revised 12/7/2021. Section 5; Article F, states:

F. May an employer adopt an incentive-based program that rewards employees for not using their accrued paid sick leave?

No, an incentive-based program that counts the lawful use of paid sick leave as a factor in determining an employee’s entitlement to an additional benefit is considered a form of retaliation for an employee’s lawful use of paid sick leave. The lawful use of paid sick leave means that an employee has accrued, unused paid sick leave and is using it for one of the authorized purposes at RCW 49.46.210(1)(b) and (c). For example, programs that count the lawful use of paid sick leave as a disqualifying factor from a bonus or reward would unlawfully restrain an employee’s right to use accrued paid sick leave. See WAC 296-128-770(1).

Section 1; Article H:

H. Can a collective bargaining agreement waive the state’s paid sick leave requirements?

No, any agreement between an employee and an employer which provides an employee less than what is due under the Minimum Wage Act is unlawful. See RCW 49.46.090. This limitation applies to collective bargaining agreements (CBA) that provide employees less than what they are due under the state’s paid sick leave requirements. See RCW 49.46.090(1).

Yesterday management proposed we agree to their proposal that continues to disqualify the nurses that utilize the provisions of the Family Care Act or WA Sick Leave from receiving the incentives while they do a legal review. We told them again that we cannot agree to less than what we believe that the law provides and urged them to include these provisions so we can get these incentives in place as soon as possible.

Questions? Contact WSNA Nurse Representative Barbara Friesen at bfriesen@wsna.org.