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ASMP concerns


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Review of the Attendance Support Management Program by Frank Wendling, Local 468 President, OPSEU

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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ASMP concerns

  1. 1. ASMP Concerns What We Have Seen and Heard Regarding This Policy
  2. 2. BACKGROUND The history of this attendance process has been reiterated and promoted across the OPS since April 1st, 2015 The way it is being promoted is to portray it as being “accepted” and “effective” among those who were the first to experience it This presentation will explore some history but concentrate on the issues of today.
  3. 3. BACKGROUND When this was introduced to the OPS it was through the Corrections group. It was part of an agreement in their CA which bargained monetary compensation as a key piece to have it adopted. There was money paid to Corrections members to “reward” them when meeting reduced absenteeism targets.
  4. 4. BACKGROUND The current version of the program is not supported by a monetary compensation component. A main reason for that is that it created a poisoned work environment as the “reward” was based on improved attendance numbers for the group, not individuals. Members were upset when others were using $ick day$.
  5. 5. MAIN ISSUES • Lack of Training • Technical delays for ATS caused unnecessary delays for level meetings • Those delays caused far too many combined level meetings • Documentation is biased and unfair • Inconsistent use of process • DASs are inconsistent (included in above section)
  6. 6. Those points listed will be covered as we go through this material. This will be a brief review (in terms of details shared) of the ASMP in order to show where areas of concern are and briefly, why. What will be shared will be concerns raised within Local 468, which are consistent with other locals as well. Additional documents will be shared which provide more detail.
  7. 7. LACK of TRAINING “We don’t know – what we don’t know” (a quote from an OPS Privacy Office document) That quote applies to every OPS member who has not received the oft documented/mentioned OPS wide training for ASMP. Where is that training?
  8. 8. LACK of TRAINING Employee Presentation - Slide 10 AMP Purpose and Principles > Key principles – last bullet point: “Organizational training and support is critical in developing manager capacity to effectively manage employee attendance.” What can be more clear than this, that there has to be OPS Wide (organizational) training? The statement also indicates that it is “critical” because without it, the program does not work “effectively”. And no, not just for managers.
  9. 9. LACK of TRAINING To follow on that thought – the complexity of this program, and the fact that it has obligations, rights and entitlements, demands that all employees need to be aware of: • What it is • How it works • How it impacts them . . .
  10. 10. LACK of TRAINING That knowledge can only be obtained through proper OPS-wide training. 30 to 60 minute info sessions will not do. The occasional piece delivered via email and buried among other messages will not do either, Nor will a 45 minute to 1 hour Webinar suffice as “training” Info pieces we receive are not training.
  11. 11. LACK of TRAINING When the employer wants to be able to hold us accountable for violating a policy, they ensure that we are aware of that policy in the form of MANDATORY training. Not info sessions or emails. Sign-up, log-in, sign-in training where you HAVE to confirm that you have completed it.
  12. 12. LACK of TRAINING There are 12 or 13 mandatory OPS wide training courses. ASMP is not one of them. Because it may result in “termination of employment”, ask yourself where would you rank it on the list as a must take course? Ask your co-workers and employees where they would rank it?
  13. 13. LACK of TRAINING Lack of training is impacting our members. In 15 ASMP level(s) meetings to date, employees did not know what was going on or how they could be helped. In all but two of those situations the employees were able to get suitable medical info to make at least one of the meetings unnecessary.
  14. 14. LACK of TRAINING In at least half of those 15 meetings, they were for multiple levels. In almost every multiple level meeting, there was a two month or more gap between the progression into levels. A lack of due diligence by the employer. We have been successful in arguing against holding multiple level meetings as it disadvantages the employee.
  15. 15. LACK of TRAINING The main reasons why it disadvantages employees is that: • it violates the expressly stated right to exercise the voluntary option at either of Levels 1, 2 or 3 when meetings are combined. • it denies employees the opportunity to learn more about ASMP and it denies them the Fair and Consistent treatment the employer keeps promoting.
  16. 16. TECHNICAL DELAYS For AMTS AMTS – Attendance Management Tracking System is a new piece added onto WIN last fall. The purpose of AMTS is to be the controller for the Attendance Management Policy and to provide information, reports and reminders to management as thresholds are exceeded or milestones passed in regard to attendance.
  17. 17. TECHNICAL DELAYS For AMTS • The AMTS component went live in October (?) of 2015. • Many of our members passed a level threshold - 1, 2, 3 and even 4 months before that, without a meeting being scheduled. • Beginning in November of 2015, employees began to get meeting requests from their managers, most were for multi-level meetings.
  18. 18. TECHNICAL DELAYS For AMTS • When asked why the delay, most managers did respond that they only recently became aware of the employee’s status in regard to ASMP • Two managers were honest and said that it was only after AMTS came online that they were getting the reminders to inform employees that a meeting would be scheduled.
  19. 19. TECHNICAL DELAYS For AMTS • The employer’s laissez-faire acceptance of the delays in having level meetings and the insistence of the DASs who were asked about this, that under ASMP, multi level meetings were acceptable, greatly disadvantaged employees as stated in slide number 15. • Timeliness is not a consistent concept.
  20. 20. TECHNICAL DELAYS For AMTS • The mere fact that the employer instituted ASMP across the OPS knowing that the AMTS was not ready nor would it be for over 6 more months was disrespectful and harmful to all employees. • The situations this created for employees was counter to the professed claim of being supportive.
  21. 21. TECHNICAL DELAYS For AMTS These two issues alone, lack of training and the AMTS delay, show that the employer was not ready to implement the policy April 1st 2015, yet in spite of the concerns that should have been apparent, they went ahead without concern for due diligence. This was SAMS all over again.
  22. 22. BIASED DOCUMENTATION Employee Presentation - Slide 8 DAP Key Employee Responsibilities - bullet point 4: • “Accept the EA solutions that meet the employee’s accommodation needs and treat the employee with dignity, even if the solution is not “perfect” or is not the employee’s preference”
  23. 23. BIASED DOCUMENTATION What that quote from the employer provided ASMP presentation states ,is that an employee must accept an accommodation “even if the solution is not “perfect” or is not the employee’s preference”. What it does not share is that at times the employer will have to accept accommodations as well, even if it is not their preferred one.
  24. 24. BIASED DOCUMENTATION The whole program is supposed to be all about the OPS employee impacted by this. What is the most important thing for any OPS member to know in regard to this program and their attendance? How it can help them or how it will not impact them. Simply put – Preclusion.
  25. 25. BIASED DOCUMENTATION What does the employer present in their documentation before mentioning that? • The “success” of this program starting in 2009. What they do not share is that that original pilot included a financial incentive piece that this current incarnation is lacking. Of course rewarding people to not stay home sick financially works.
  26. 26. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • The employer states “The key change to the ASMP from the original program is the trigger for entering Level 1 and progressing through the levels of the program.”. I am sure that any of us who would like our good attendance to be rewarded would disagree with this statement.
  27. 27. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • The employer shares, “Each time an employee triggers into a new level, he/she will have a meeting with his/her manager and/or employer representative(s). The purpose of the meeting is to advise the employee that his/her non-culpable absenteeism is a concern and to offer support. It is a proactive step in helping employees overcome difficulties with maintaining regular attendance at work.”
  28. 28. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • if you want to be “proactive” as indicated above, let the individual know this information or confirm that they know and understand it – before they enter any level. That would be “supportive”. That would be “fair”. • The way it is described now (and is implemented) is reactionary, not proactive.
  29. 29. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • We are only at page 3 of the guide and this bombshell is dropped on the reader, “Ultimately, the employer will take appropriate action in order to address excessive absenteeism which could result in the termination of employment.”. • This statement most certainly is not an example of being “supportive”.
  30. 30. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • Before sharing any information about preclusion the document goes on to make statements as to “Purpose”, “Human Rights Considerations”, “W.S.I.B.” and “L.T.I.P.” as well as information on WDHP and support that management has in the decision making process from HR and Disability Accommodation Specialists.
  31. 31. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • The last paragraph on page 4 mentions having absences “precluded” in line two and in the last line mentions having absences considered for preclusion. • PRECLUSION is a major piece of this program and should not be “inserted” in this document at this point without a heading that clearly indicates where the information can be found.
  32. 32. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • Bundling has it’s own section and a prominent Header, why does Preclusion not get the same recognition and treatment? It is more important to everyone as an option. • Ask anyone with an absence that can be or has been precluded and see if they felt this was presented in a “supportive” and meaningful way.
  33. 33. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • The guide has a definitions piece starting on page 6. • How is it that in this section important terms such as preclusion, bundling and more importantly disability are not included in this information? • It is obvious from this and so much more, that the employer wants to avoid having employees use preclusion as is their right.
  34. 34. BIASED DOCUMENTATION With two plus years of experience with this program, I can honestly state that not much after the mention of “termination of employment” sinks in for people I have talked to. The employer has introduced a fear factor to redirect the attention of the reader and it works.
  35. 35. BIASED DOCUMENTATION This has impacted our members on several levels. • Many who are entitled to have absences precluded are not aware of what it is or that it is possible. • Members who should not be at work are coming in sick or forgoing necessary medical treatment to avoid having absences count against them.
  36. 36. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • We have experienced many situations where employees are unwilling to even discuss their medical concerns with the employer for fear of getting “terminated” after reading this piece. • Sounds of “apparently not-well” employees in the workplace have increased. I would have said “sick” employees, but I am not trained to make that diagnosis.
  37. 37. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • Conversations that do get around to how absences can be dealt with usually include info about the benefits of bundling. Preclusion is rarely brought up as an option by either managers or the DAS who is involved. • Documentation shared on this does not present information in a manner that is supportive but it is clinical in the details.
  38. 38. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • From the ASMP Guide – page 14, Program Responsibilities – Employee, item #6 it says: “Attend to any personal affairs and obligations during personal time.” What if this is not possible? Why not add at the end “if possible”? Where is the definition of “personal affairs” and “obligations”?
  39. 39. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • Making such a broad statement is misleading and can be a contravention of the Human Rights Code if the affairs or obligations are medical or family (parental) related which do have a level of protection under the code. Why is this not mentioned? • Members have been negatively impacted because of this point.
  40. 40. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • From the ASMP Guide – page 14, Program Responsibilities – Employee, item #8 it says: “Provide health information in accordance with this guide, policies, applicable collective agreements or as directed by the employer.” This should also state “as is consistent with all Privacy Legislation”. That is too important to omit from this directive.
  41. 41. BIASED DOCUMENTATION • In regard to the matter of privacy rights, that topic is hardly covered at all and the employee is left to presume the burden is upon them to find out what their rights are. • Firsthand experience has shown that in some situations where issues of rights are important, the full disclosure to employees does not happen.
  42. 42. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS Disability Accommodation Specialist position new to the OPS. The first were hired in late 2014. Experience in dealing with those who are a DAS since the ASMP was implemented OPS wide has shown that they are not equal and that they do not all have the same level of understanding required policies and ASMP.
  43. 43. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS One steward asked two DASs the same question: If I have had no previous absences and I am off because of necessary surgery and the doctor has “ordered” in a note that I stay off work for two weeks after the surgery, how is that absence handled?
  44. 44. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS Two different responses were given and in one case, the DAS refused to accept that an employee who has had surgery can be considered to have a temporary disability. Eventually they both got around to saying the absences may be bundled if documentation was provided.
  45. 45. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS But they did not agree on how the absence would impact the status of the employee in regard to ASMP. One stated that the bundle would be one occurrence and that was it. The other stated that even though bundled, the first 8 days of that absence would trigger a move into level 1 of the program.
  46. 46. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS But that took about five email exchanges and many more questions to arrive at. From these exchanges and many others a common theme emerges. Notes provided by doctors and other medical practitioners are generally inadequate. When asked why, the response usually is:
  47. 47. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS The note does not state that you have a “disability” as defined under the Human Rights Code. Medical Practitioners struggle with this concern and in support of their dilemma I remind you that in several key documents the employer does not even include a definition. What is it that you are not sharing?
  48. 48. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS Even when HIF documents are sent to the practitioners and questions posed about disability, that definition is not included. Why? The employer in regard to dealing with disabilities puts up a barrier to accommodation by not sharing their understanding of what a disability is.
  49. 49. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS In a case that went to the Supreme Court of Canada regarding medical information being requested or evaluated by the employer, Justice Shore wrote in part: “. . . If the employer is dissatisfied with these other options, including and in particular a medical certificate tendered by the employee, it has the duty to clearly explain to the employee or state the reasons why the information is insufficient. Again, this respects the employee’s rights to privacy and allows him or her to assess the employer’s objections and produce other information if needed.”
  50. 50. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS From that I hope you can see that just stating to an employee: • Not good enough • It does not state your restrictions • It does not state you have a disability • I need you to take a HIF for your doctor to complete Will not suffice.
  51. 51. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS What is also of concern here is that many times where an employee provides a note that supports a reason to accept their claim for relief under ASMP, it provides information that crosses over into the duty to accommodate and the Disability Accommodation process. There are inconsistencies and errors made in that related process as well.
  52. 52. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS Only once in about forty times where I have assisted members, when they provided a medical note to the manager and it had indications of what the practitioner deemed to be necessary accommodation, did the employer engage the employee before proceeding to address the content of the note.
  53. 53. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS • The submission of such a note triggers the DA process. • That policy clearly states the employee is to be a part of the process • The evaluation the employer makes is their obligated step. • Discussing with the employee what would or could happen next must take place before going any further. (see slide 49)
  54. 54. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS • Not involving the employee as described above reduces them to a “gofer” role in the process and an opportunity to gain understanding possible further insight is lost. • This leads to the creation of questions and forms that do not really address the issues because an effort was not made to understand what they really are.
  55. 55. INCONSISTENT USE of PROCESS • This also introduces delays into the process which can an often do lead to increased unnecessary pain and suffering by the employee • This clearly is not what I hope the employer has in mind when talking about being supportive.
  56. 56. It is my goal that the promises made of support and participation of the employee in medically related situations through programs and policy are fully met. I expect that it will be mandatory for a meeting to take place anytime a medical note is provided to the employer, regardless of whether or not the employer decides that more information is needed.
  57. 57. The purpose of that meeting is to recognize the needs and rights of the employee, including having a full understanding of how decisions made will impact them at work.