AHS ordered to pay UNA members proper rate for OH&S Committee work

An arbitration panel has ordered Alberta Health Services to pay members of United Nurses of Alberta at the rate required by provincial legislation for Occupational Health and Safety Committee work.

In a decision issued Friday, the three-member panel ordered AHS to correct payments made to members of Joint Worksite Health and Safety Committees retroactive to June 2018, when new workplace health and safety legislation was passed by the previous government.

AHS had taken the position that OH&S Committee work should be paid at the basic rate of pay, defined in the Provincial Collective Agreement as the step in the scale applicable to the employee but not inclusive of all other allowances and premium payments.

UNA argued OH&S Committee work should be paid at the same rate as any other work — including overtime pay, premiums and shift differentials if justified under the normal rules of UNA’s collective agreements — as required by the legislation.

UNA filed a policy grievance in June 2018 stating that all committee work – including attendance at OH&S meetings, OH&S training, and preparing for meetings and participating in inspections and investigations – is subject to overtime, weekend premiums, and shift differentials when the appropriate conditions outlined by the collective agreement and provincial legislation are met.

The chair and labour representative on the three-member panel agreed, with the employer representative dissenting.