At a time when many Quebecers begin their summer recess, many health professionals see their holiday reduced like skin of sorrow and some nurses are forced to perform-quarters of end of the week during their summer break.
At least that is the case in several CIUSSS of Quebec where a majority of nurses do not have the right to two weeks vacation minimum, promised by the minister Geneviève Guilbault at the end of may to give a little oxygen to the nursing staff. Two weeks which are equivalent to the minimum standards of work. In some cases, some employees have been able to snatch a third, or a fourth week, but on certain strict conditions.
The CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’île-de-Montréal, for example, memos sent to staff invoke “a situation that remains critical” to cancel the 3rd and 4th weeks of leave for its nurses and orderlies at the hospital Notre-Dame. At the hospital of Verdun, these same categories of employees wishing to obtain a three-weeks must return to perform a quarter of the end of the week during their leave.
For the local union of the Fédération des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (FIQ-SPSS Centre-Sud-de-l’île-de-Montréal), these draconian measures are not justified in the current context, while only 5 patients with the COVIDhospitalisés in all the CIUSSS of the Centre-South.
“There are more positive patients at the hospital of Verdun and the beds are closed for the summer. We do not understand this decision. It uses ministerial orders to remedy the staffing problems that existed before the COVID, ” says Françoise Ramel, acting director of the SPSS-FIQ du Centre-Sud-de-l’île-de-Montréal.
The CIUSSS of the Centre-South, which has hospitalized more than 1200 patients, victims of the COVID and counted some 1,500 infected over 21 000, confirmed on Wednesday that there were only five patients and four staff affected, as well as five residents infected in a CHSLD. Depending on the institution, these exceptional measures, which affect only 1.5% of its nursing staff, have been taken to enable all staff to have a leave of absence minimum of two weeks in the summer.
In addition, the Notre-Dame hospital is always named “COVID” and must maintain throughout the summer its ability to receive infected patients, in addition to resume regular activities, invoke-t-on. Despite the hiring of 466 nurses since march, the CIUSSS Centre-South considers that it is still in lack of 280 nurses and 75 auxiliaries.
But according to Françoise Ramel, managing this the hard way amplifies the problem of shortage already existing, rather than the set. Thursday, the work schedules from mid-July to mid-August had not yet been communicated to the nurses. “That can arrange a holiday with her family to a week’s notice ? Some have already cancelled because it is too late. Because of this, there has to retirements and resignations, and it is not even in the second wave, ” sighed she.
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Even if the ministerial orders give the right to the health institutions to cancel the vacation and holidays of their employees, most unions have managed to agree locally with the employers to limit the impact on employees of the network, argues Nathalie Lévesque, executive vice-president and co-head of labour relations at the FIQ. “But in some places, it gets stuck and the health care professional pay a high price for them. “
A round-up conducted with several nurses shows that the situation is very variable from one region to another, and sometimes within the same region.
In the Montérégie region, many hospitals have not strayed from the rule of the two weeks and continue to require the full-time mandatory for all part-time employees.
At the CHUM, nurses have obtained 3 or 4 weeks of vacation and the resumption of work part-time just to even be allowed.
In the Lanaudière region and the Laurentides, some employees have been entitled to three weeks, others only two.
In Québec, a number of have got three to four weeks, as usual. In the absence of an extended vacation, several nurses choose to make the “7 / 7” all summer, seven days of online work, followed by a week off.
Even CISSS located in regions spared by the pandemic, limited to two weeks maximum vacation for their employees, says Nathalie Lévesque. “If there are resignations, there will not be more advanced,” she said.
According to Hubert Forcier, adviser to information on the Federation of Health and social Services of the CSN, the situation is also unequal among staff affiliated to their union (the worker beneficiary, auxiliary staff and technical). “It depends on a lot of the establishments ; some had more than others. To cancel a vacation, it would be necessary that one is dealing with a second wave. However, the situation has stabilized, the normal activities leave, ” he says.