CBA Article 5

ARTICLE 5 HOURS OF WORK 

5.1 Definitions 

A. Full-time Nurses 

Nurses who are regularly scheduled to work an average of forty (40) hours per workweek or eighty (80) hours within a fourteen (14) day work period. This includes full-time nurses who work at a Department of Social and Health Services institution. 

B. Overtime-Eligible Position 

An overtime-eligible position is one that is assigned duties and responsibilities that meet the criteria for overtime coverage under federal and state law. 

C. Overtime-Exempt Position 

An overtime-exempt position is one that is assigned duties and responsibilities that do not meet the criteria for overtime coverage under federal and state law. 

D. Part-time Nurses 

Nurses who are scheduled to work less than an average of forty (40) hours per workweek. 

E. Scheduled Nurses 

Overtime-eligible nurses who work in positions that normally require set start and end time, such as positions that normally require shift coverage for more than one (1) work shift. 

F. Non-Scheduled Nurses 

Overtime-eligible nurses whose conditions of employment may necessitate adjustment of normal work hours by the nurses when work requirements call for varying the schedule to complete duties within the forty (40) hour workweek or eighty (80) hours within a fourteen (14) day work period, as agreed to by the supervisor prior to deviating from their normal work hours. 

G. Workday 

One (1) of seven (7) consecutive, twenty-four (24) hour periods in a workweek or fourteen (14) day work period.

H. Workweeks and work shifts of different numbers of hours may be established by the Employer in order to meet business, program and customer service needs, as long as the work schedules meet federal and state laws. 

I. Work Shift 

The hours a nurse is scheduled to work each workday. 

J. Workweek 

A regularly re-occurring period of one hundred and sixty-eight (168) hours consisting of seven (7) consecutive, twenty-four (24) hour periods, as designated by the appointing authority. Nurses will receive written notification from their appointing authority of any change in their workweek. 

5.2 Determination 

The Employer shall determine whether a position is overtime-eligible or overtime-exempt in accordance with federal and state laws. In addition, the Employer will determine if an overtime-eligible position is a scheduled or non scheduled position. 

5.3 Overtime-Eligible Nurses 

A. Regular Work Schedules 

The regular work schedule for overtime-eligible nurses shall not be more than forty (40) hours in a workweek or eighty (80) hours within a fourteen (14) day work period, with starting and ending times as determined by the requirements of the position and the Employer. The Employer may adjust the regular work schedule with prior notice to the nurse. 

The Employer will determine the number of nurses needed on each day and on each shift. Workweek schedules for nurses will take into consideration community scheduling practices to allow for a variety of workweek schedules that fit the regional office or facility. Such work schedules may include, but not be limited to, one of the following: every other weekend off, five (5) consecutive workdays followed by two (2) days off, or some other alternate work schedule as provided in Subsection B, below. A weekend is defined as Saturday, Sunday or both. The Employer will provide an opportunity for nurse input and will consider nurse preferences related to the distribution of workdays and days off, including weekend preferences. A nurse will not normally be scheduled to work ten (10) consecutive calendar days without his or her consent. 

B. Alternate Work Schedules 

Workweeks and work shifts of different numbers of hours may be established for overtime-eligible nurses by the Employer in order to meet business, program and customer service needs, as long as the alternate Work Schedules work schedules meet federal and state laws. Nurses may request alternative work schedules and such requests will be approved by the Employer, subject to business, customer service and patient care needs. The Employer may disapprove requests if there are performance or attendance concerns. Previously approved alternate work schedules may be rescinded by the Employer if business, customer service or patient care needs are no longer being met, or if performance or attendance concerns occur. The Employer will consider nurses’ personal and family needs. 

Where such alternative work schedules are established or amended, the schedule shall include how the alternative schedule operates during a week in which there is a recognized holiday. If a supervisor rejects, or amends an alternative work schedule for holiday weeks, then the supervisor shall inform the employee, in writing, of the reason(s) for the rejection or amendment, including why the alternative work schedule will not meet the business, customer service and patient care needs. 

C. Temporary Schedule Changes 

Nurses’ workweeks and/or work schedules may be temporarily changed with prior notice from the Employer. A temporary schedule change is defined as a change lasting thirty (30) calendar days or less. Overtime-eligible nurses shall receive three (3) calendar days’ written notice of any temporary schedule change. The day that notification is given is considered the first day of notice. Adjustments in the hours of work of daily work shifts during a workweek do not constitute a temporary schedule change. 

D. Permanent Schedule Changes 

Nurses’ workweeks and work schedules may be permanently changed with prior notice from the Employer. Overtime-eligible nurses shall receive seven (7) calendar days’ written notice of a permanent schedule change, unless the Employer and the nurse agree to a different notice period. The day notification is given is considered the first day of notice. Adjustments in the hours of work of daily work shifts during a workweek do not constitute a permanent schedule change. The Employer will not cancel a nurse’s vacation leave that was approved prior to a permanent change in a work schedule, except as provided in Article 16.6

E. Emergency Schedule Changes 

The Employer may temporarily adjust an overtime-eligible nurse’s workweek and work schedule without prior notice in emergencies or unforeseen operational needs. 

F. Nurse-Requested Schedule Changes 

Overtime-eligible nurses’ workweeks and work schedules may be changed at the nurse’s request and with the Employer’s approval, provided the Employer’s business, program and customer service needs are met and no overtime expense is incurred. 

G. Work Schedules 

Monthly work schedules will be posted one (1) month in advance. 

5.4 Telecommuting 

The Department of Health and the Department of Social and Health Services agree to continue to abide by their agency policy on telecommuting. 

5.5 Overtime-Eligible Unpaid Meal Periods 

The Employer and the Union agree to unpaid meal periods that vary from and supersede the unpaid meal period requirements required by WAC 296-126-092. Unpaid meal periods for nurses working more than five (5) consecutive hours, if entitled, will be a minimum of thirty (30) minutes and shall be scheduled as close to the middle of the work shift as possible. When a nurse’s unpaid meal period is interrupted by work duties, the nurse will be allowed to resume his or her unpaid meal period following the interruption, if possible, to complete the unpaid meal period. In the event a nurse is unable to complete the unpaid meal period due to operational necessity, the nurse shall be entitled to compensation, which will be computed based on the actual number of minutes worked within the unpaid meal period. Meal periods may not be used for late arrival or early departure from work and meal and rest periods shall not be combined. 

5.6 Overtime-Eligible Paid Meal Periods for Straight Shift Schedules 

The Employer and the Union agree to paid meal periods that vary from and supersede the paid meal period requirements of WAC 296-126-092. Nurses working straight shifts will not receive a paid meal period, but will be permitted to eat intermittently as time allows during their shifts while remaining on duty. Paid meal periods for nurses on straight shifts do not require relief from duty. 

5.7 Overtime-Eligible Rest Periods 

The Employer and the Union agree to rest periods that vary from and supersede the rest periods required by WAC 296-126-092. Nurses shall be allowed rest periods of fifteen (15) minutes for each one half (1/2) shift of four (4) or more hours worked at or near the middle of each one half (1/2) shift of four (4) or more hours. Rest periods do not require relief from duty. Where the nature of the work allows nurses to take intermittent rest periods equivalent to fifteen (15) minutes for each half shift, scheduled rest periods are not required. Rest periods may not be used for late arrival or early departure from work and rest and meal periods shall not be combined. 

5.8 Overtime-Exempt Nurses 

Overtime-exempt nurses are not covered by federal or state overtime laws. Compensation is based on the premise that overtime-exempt nurses are expected to work as many hours as necessary to provide the public services for which they were hired. These nurses are accountable for their work performance, and for meeting the objectives of the agency for which they work. The Employer’s policy for all overtime-exempt nurses is as follows: 

A. The Employer determines the products, services, and standards that must be met by overtime-exempt nurses. 

B. Overtime-exempt nurses are expected to work as many hours as necessary to accomplish their assignments or fulfill their responsibilities and to complete work assignments by specific deadlines. Overtime-exempt nurses may be required to work specific hours to provide services, when deemed necessary by the Employer. 

C. The salary paid to overtime-exempt nurses is full compensation for all hours worked. 

D. Overtime-exempt nurses’ salary includes straight time for holidays. An overtime-exempt nurse whose Employer requires him or her to work on a holiday will be paid at an additional rate of one and one-half (1-1/2) times the nurse’s salary for time worked. 

E. Full-time overtime-exempt nurses are expected to work a minimum of forty (40) hours in a workweek and part-time overtime-exempt nurses are expected to work proportionate hours. With prior approval, overtime-exempt nurses are authorized to receive exchange time at a rate of equal hours off for hours worked above forty-five (45) in a workweek. Exchange time may be accrued at straight time to a maximum of eighty (80) hours. Exchange time will be taken as time off by the employee at dates and times mutually agreed upon by the employee and immediate supervisor, based on program needs. Nurses must use exchange time prior to using vacation leave unless this would result in the loss of their vacation leave. Exchange time has no cash value and cannot be transferred between agencies. 

The establishment of the forty-five (45) hour threshold is intended to provide clarity on when and how exchange time is accrued and measured; it is not intended to suggest in any way that the Union and the Employer have agreed to redefine the normal workweek from forty (40) hours to forty-five (45) hours. If a nurse is required to consistently work forty-five (45) hours in a workweek, the nurse may raise this concern to a manager in the nurse’s chain of command who has the authority to resolve the issue. Attempts at informal resolution shall be at the lowest level possible to resolve the issue. If the informal discussions do not resolve the issue in the opinion of the nurse, then the twenty-one (21) day timeline to file a grievance will start at the point that informal discussions conclude. 

F. If they give notification and receive the Employer’s concurrence, overtime-exempt nurses may alter their work hours. Nurses are responsible for keeping management apprised of their schedules and their whereabouts. 

Nurses may request alternative work schedules and such requests will be approved by the Employer, subject to business, customer service and patient care needs. The Employer may disapprove requests if there are performance or attendance concerns. Previously approved alternate work schedules may be rescinded by the Employer if business, customer service or patient care needs are no longer being met, or if performance or attendance concerns occur. The Employer will consider nurses’ personal and family needs. 

Where such alternative work schedules are established or amended, the schedule shall include how the alternative schedule operates during a week in which there is a recognized holiday. If a supervisor rejects, or amends an alternative work schedule for holiday weeks, then the supervisor shall inform the employee, in writing, of the reason(s) for the rejection or amendment, including why the alternative work schedule will not meet the business, customer service and patient care needs. 

G. Prior approval from the Employer for the use of paid or unpaid leave for absences of two (2) or more hours is required, except for unanticipated sick leave. 

© Paul Vilja 2017