We are sharing the letter we sent to the Santa Clara County leaders yesterday, April 13, 2020. As essential employees and designated disaster workers, we have to demand the changes we have indicated below. We must demand that they prioritize county employees' safety and security instead of their bottom line.
Dear Honorable Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Dr. Smith, Mr. Lorenz, Ms. Sproul and Mr. Cottrell,
As we have seen nationwide, Santa Clara County is at the forefront of the COVID -19 battle. RNPA is calling on Santa Clara County to be a pioneer in providing essential workers essential benefits as well. The FFCRA provides a minimum level of benefits to employees. Below are some items that RNPA believes are necessary benefits for all essential healthcare workers risking their lives caring for the sickest patients in our community.
By providing these necessary benefits, employees can focus on taking care of patients rather than other issues that may seem small in the scheme of things but necessary to individual as well as families’ well being.
1. Paid Administrative Leave - For employees performing essential services who must remain in the workplace, the County will provide paid administrative leave if those employees are diagnosed with COVID-19, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, or must isolate/quarantine pursuant to direction of a healthcare provider or order from a federal, state or local official. For purposes of eligibility for paid administrative leave only, the County will presume these employees became exposed or sick in the workplace. Employees shall be paid administrative leave. County agrees to go back and qualify denied leaves related to COVID 19 isolation, quarantine etc. and make any affected nurse whole from Pay Period 2020/06 (2/24/2020to 3/8/2020) to the current date.
2. Additional County Paid Sick Leave Allocation - The County shall provide all regularly scheduled employees an additional 80 hours of new paid sick leave that employees can use for any sick leave related purpose and for school closures. Part-time and temporary employees will receive a prorated number of hours based on hours worked in the last six months. Per Diem/Extra Help employees hours are based on average hours worked for the last six months. This leave shall be in addition to that provided pursuant to the RNPA bargaining agreement, FFCRA, or other provision of law.
3. Paid Sick Leave to care for a Family Member - Any nurse requesting leave to take care of an individual that may be affected by the COVID 19 epidemic may access Paid Sick Leave Bank. Example, care for elderly parent not able to stay in nursing home, cancelled home health services, etc. This shall include access to the Paid Sick Leave under the FFCRA, all paid sick leave available under the RNPA bargaining agreement and/or County policy, and the Paid Sick Leave referenced in this agreement.
4. Employees Compensatory Time Expiration - The County will waive compensatory time expirations.
5. Maximum allowable PTO balance - County will establish a separate bank for nurses who are at maximum allowable PTO balance to store hours so PTO can continue to accrue. County will establish a separate bank for nurses who are at maximum allowable PTO balance to store hours so PTO can continue to accrue beyond the maximum allowable balance during the public health emergency.
6. Float pay for Extra Help/Per Diem - Float pay for Extra Help/Per Diem working outside of float areas designated in 8.14 of RNPA MOU shall continue to be provided during this public health crisis.
7. Crisis Appreciation Pay – The County shall pay a differential for healthcare workers who are called to work when there is a shelter in place. The purpose of this differential is for the County to show the workforce they are appreciated and will help recruit and retain workforce during this public healthcare crisis.
I look forward to discussing these issues with you this upcoming week. Thank you in advance for your time and immediate consideration.