Issue 8 - Union Asks for Extra Pay for Missed Breaks

Issue 8 - Union Asks for Extra Pay for Missed Breaks

Swedish wants to partner with the union to ensure employees get their breaks


Like SEIU, Swedish believes rest breaks are vital to the health and safety of our employees and patients. We also recognize it can be a challenge to take a break when it’s busy.


However, we believe SEIU’s proposal for additional pay for missed breaks does not address the whole issue and may even encourage employees to work straight through their shift without stopping to rest, putting both employees and patients at risk.


That’s why Swedish has proposed working with SEIU to find a more comprehensive solution that will ensure employees consistently get their breaks. We are committed to setting up a system working collaboratively with SEIU that would make this possible.


If you feel you are unable to take your breaks, please notify your manager or charge nurse immediately.



Swedish's Current Dependability Policy Is Very Generous
Allows equivalent of 28 days of unscheduled absences per year


In light of recent SEIU flyers that say Swedish discourages employees from calling in sick, we want to provide accurate information about our dependability policy.


Our current policy is very generous, allowing four occurrences of up to seven days per year. This is the equivalent of 28 days of unscheduled absences every 12 months. Further, our policy does not count Family Care Leave (WFCA), FMLA (continuous or intermittent), time loss for workers compensation, any reasonable accommodation for a qualifying disability, or pre-approved scheduled absences such as medical or dental appointments against dependability.


This “no fault” policy allows managers to not have to subjectively assess whether someone is really sick. We believe this is the right thing to do for the health and safety of our employees and patients, and we are committed to keeping this policy in place.

Swedish Bargaining Team
Swedish Employee,

Thank you for your question about PTO. Swedish likes the PTO model and would like to adopt it across the system because it is easier to track, easier for employees to use their accrued time, helps managers plan for time off, and encourages employees to use the time responsibly.

At this time SEIU does not share our interest in discussing PTO as an alternative, but it is a topic we will continue to raise for discussion.
6/29/2011 1:48:19 PM
ann dickhoff
I have been here more than 20 years and I am a fully benefitted FTE 0.5 BUT I cannot take time off for my terminally ill father, who lives with me and is in hospice. I have an auto immune disease and again, NO ACCESS TO FMLA. Swedish is a healthcare organization. Where is the compassion? Do I want to help save 200 million so you can continue to expand? No, I want to be home with my dying father . I want my retirement so I won't die destitute. I need my health insurance. Charity care for Swedish, I don't think so!!!!
6/22/2011 4:22:27 PM
swedish employee
the comments listed are all so accurate. If you think that the sick time is miss used or abused. Why not do what other company's have done with their sick time and vacation and combine them to PTO. Swedish has done this with all the SPD's. Then maybe people would not call in sick because they fell like they earned the time and want to use it. Unfortantely no matter what they will be staff that will continue to abuse their time off.
6/22/2011 12:09:49 PM
I find it ammusing that Swedish senior leaders (director and above) are "shocked" that in the employee satisfaction survey they were rated poorly and are simply mistrusted through out the organization. These kind of statements are exactly why that happens. No matter how many meetings per month each director or executive attends, behavior such as these gross overstatements of facts are the reason this distrust will continue. Why is the leadership of this organization blind to the fact that we, as the front line caregiver (who are by the way, most important to the actual patients in our beds) are not ill educated idiots? When they distort and skew their memos and presentations full of poorly crafted statistical grafts to only show the point of view they want to show, they think we are going to believe them. Think again Swedish management and board. We are not fools.
6/22/2011 8:41:08 AM
mark m
i got two small kids. i dont go close to that 28 days.. 4 times of missing work because i was sick, or one of my family. thats enough for me to get in trouble
6/22/2011 4:51:09 AM
another Swedish employee
I also do not find the dependability policy "fair and balanced". It is quite odd to me that a single late arrival counts against an employee the same as staying home sick for three whole days. Being 5 minutes late should not count for the same negative mark on the employee's "dependability" checklist as being out sick for three days.
6/21/2011 4:10:39 PM
The sick policy is very strict and I have witnessed my fellow coworkers come to work with swine flu because they had already had a warning. This is unacceptable and does not do the job of protecting our patients. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control and they are very real needs not just excuses.
In addition it should be clear that if you work 12's for example but have 6 days of sick that it counts as two occurances, not one as one may assume by reading Swedish's statment. The only way it will not count as two is if it is FMLA... It should state 7 consecutive dates and that it is not a no fault- you will be required to get FMLA or a doctors note.
As the ecomonics are not fully protrayed, it is happening again here with the sick policy info provided by Swedish.
We need to be honest with each other and have a good working relationship that provides the best care for our patients.
6/20/2011 5:49:43 PM
Melissa Tizon
Don and Kelly - Swedish responded to the union's proposal on beaks at an earlier bargaining session, which is when we indicated that we wanted to work together on a solution to help ensure employees get their breaks. This issue of Negotiation News came out a little late. We have another issue coming out on (hopefully) Monday with an update on last week's staffing presentations. We hope to get back on schedule this week. Thanks for your comments. - Melissa
6/19/2011 1:12:40 PM
Kelly B
"That’s why Swedish has proposed working with SEIU to find a more comprehensive solution that will ensure employees consistently get their breaks" I have been at the table, and do not recall any such propasal being presented by Swedish. Can you please share this with us?

Also, regarding sick leave, I agree we should work to find some way of giving workers who reach the "cap" of sick hours (800, I think) to be able to "trade" them for cash or vacation hours. And yes, we do have people who call out sick for multiple days - if you are already getting one "occurance" you might as well stay home for two or three days and really heal up (and use some of those sick hours before they accumulate past your cap).
6/17/2011 7:17:04 PM
Swedish PACU RN, MW
I am discouraged that my childs and my own sick days could easily reach 3 incidences in a year, placing me to be in jepardy of being counseled if I happen to get the flu causing a 4th occurance. The total amount of days with the 4 incidences could easily be just 4-5 days and not even close to the 28 allowed. Just one stroke of bad luck one year could result in counseling even if I have not called in sick for 5 or 6 years prior to the current year. I would like to think that I could relax and do my job and one could look at my TOTAL record to see that I do not abuse the policy. I am amazed at how many people I work with that have several hundred hours of sick time built up that definitely DO NOT abuse the policy. I do understand that for those few that do abuse the policy something has to be inplace, but do we ALL need to be treated like we can be trusted and are valued until we do something to break or question that trust. I believe before any punishment is done, even a verbal warning, that there should be a way to look at patterns of behavior over a longer period than a year.
6/17/2011 6:02:59 PM
Don W. Miller
Interesting. I was at yesterday's negotiations and don't recall the union proposing extra pay for missed breaks. I also don't recall the dependibility policy being a subject of discussion either. We have had discussions in these areas but not at yesterday's negotiations.
Yesterday, the discussions focused on staffing plans and floating.
I was also wondering why Swedish would post their version of what occurred in negotiations, in the afternoon, while we were still at the table negotiating. Is that not misleading?
6/17/2011 9:29:15 AM
swedish employee
If you wanted to provide accurate information about swedishes dependability policy then you have left out some very important facts. I find the "tone" of your statement implies that an employee can call in sick for up to 28 days without impunity to be 100% false. You fail to mention that discipline begins after the 3rd occurrence which could easily be when an employee misses only 4 days of work a year while an employee who misses 28 days would recive the same discipline as long as all occurrences are equal. At the 6th occurrence no matter the number of actual days missed managers are directed to contact human resources where an punishment is decided that is not clearly spelled out in any policy. Basically comes down to if the manager likes that person or not. Im also baffled by the no fault policy. Employees who miss more than 3 consective days of work must obtain a Doctors note or anytime the manager deams necessary. Doesnt sound "no fault" to me. Shame on you for suggesting that swedish is doing the employee a favor by not counting FMLA sick calls. Those are mandated by the government not swedishes good will. Punish an employee for using FMLA sick days and there would be a law suit. Also your statement about use of pre approved medical or dental appointments leaves out the fact that you are only allowed 2 appointments a year. I want it known that I personally never come close to max occurrences(I have one). The curent policy encourages an employee to miss multiple days of work even though they may be able to return to work. Why would I miss one day of work when I can take 3 working days off in a row and only have it count as 1 occurrence. If I dont use those days they are lost forever. With a no cash out policy on sick days the reward is nothing. How is this good?
6/16/2011 11:52:26 PM
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