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VA (Department of Veterans Affairs)

The United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for veterans of any nation in the world. This benefits system traces its roots back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims passed a law which stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony. The establishment of the Veterans Administration came in 1930 when Congress authorized the President to "consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans."

This forum also includes the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

Perhaps you are working for the VA or interested in working for the VA. Here is a forum to share your experience with the VA.

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Xrayfed  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, November 22, 2017 10:19:34 PM(UTC)
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My leadership is using mandatory overtime rather than an adequate staffing regimen (part-timers, on-call/casual/per-diem, contractors, shift overlap etc) to cover holes in the schedule. I have have been searching like crazy though the AFGE master agreement, us code, VHA handbook etc, and all I can find are regs relating to emergency mandatory OT being a tool for management to use in case of unforeseen emergency, but not how it exactly works. Also I find stuff about nurses protections from mandatory OT but not techs.

My questions are these:
1. What is the process from utilizing mandatory OT, and where does that derive from?
2. What are the limitations of Mandatory OT, and where do they derive from?
3. Are all VA professions who conduct vital direct patient care covered by OT regs relating to nurses?
When you are mandated, how many hours off are you allowed before being required to return for the next shift? (AFGE master agreement says 12 hours between scheduled shifts, but does that also include mandated OT?)


thanks in advance for any guidance.




old fed  
#2 Posted : Sunday, November 26, 2017 7:59:37 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Xrayfed Go to Quoted Post
My leadership is using mandatory overtime rather than an adequate staffing regimen (part-timers, on-call/casual/per-diem, contractors, shift overlap etc) to cover holes in the schedule. I have have been searching like crazy though the AFGE master agreement, us code, VHA handbook etc, and all I can find are regs relating to emergency mandatory OT being a tool for management to use in case of unforeseen emergency, but not how it exactly works. Also I find stuff about nurses protections from mandatory OT but not techs.

My questions are these:
1. What is the process from utilizing mandatory OT, and where does that derive from?
2. What are the limitations of Mandatory OT, and where do they derive from?
3. Are all VA professions who conduct vital direct patient care covered by OT regs relating to nurses?
When you are mandated, how many hours off are you allowed before being required to return for the next shift? (AFGE master agreement says 12 hours between scheduled shifts, but does that also include mandated OT?)


thanks in advance for any guidance.






your steward can assist you and will be your best source for accurate information.

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Xrayfed on 1/31/2018(UTC)
Xrayfed  
#3 Posted : Thursday, November 30, 2017 3:34:50 AM(UTC)
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Yah that's where I'm at... Union Meeting with management was hilarious... It's at HR now. We shall see what we see. I'm pretty sure we'll all be getting an email with at least a local bargaining agreement. My hope is that this escalates further because I'm hearing that this is not just a local issue. This mandatory OT tool is becoming the new normal all over, but I've noticed that it is not applied universally and not in any consistent way across all service lines.
Gingersnap  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, January 23, 2018 3:57:01 AM(UTC)
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I realize that this topic is aging but thought I'd chime in with what goes on in my VA department.

I, too, work for a department that does direct patient care, 24-7-365, but is not nursing. We are chronically short-staffed and I end up getting mandated approximately 1-2 times per pay period. We work 8 hour shifts so being mandated means a 16 hour shift. The AFGE master agreement states an employee cannot be mandated more than twice per two-week period. Luckily for management, there are a lot of volunteers for overtime or mandations would happen more that that.
How it's done in my department: you can only be mandated for a shift immediately following your regularly-scheduled shift, you are not called in on a scheduled day off. The AFGE agreement states you have the right to 12 hours off between shifts so if you work from 0800 to 0030 and are scheduled to work again at 0800, you may come in four hours "late"... no one opts to do this, however, they want the $$. The department keeps a book with the mandation rotation: the list of names rotating through mandation... it's done as fairly as possible.
There are a couple of employees who have filed for, and gotten, FMLA strictly for mandation. For example: taking care of an elderly parent and having home nursing for that parent only during your regular work hours and therefore not being able to stay for mandated shifts.
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Xrayfed on 1/31/2018(UTC)
Xrayfed  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, January 31, 2018 2:52:42 PM(UTC)
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So I just had my 3rd level grievance meeting with the chief of staff this week. The likely outcome will be over time paid for the time between because,A. I'm not an on call employee, and B., I was not a standby employee yet was required to be. Not to mention it violates the master agreement and local bargaining agreements. Management was unable to provided evidence that supported the action and both my dept chief and the hospital chief are not attempting to fight it. I'm happy but this is an ongoing issue. There's a visn afge battle ongoing over the blanket use of the term "patient care". Mandatory ot is to be used for emergencies, not serial short staffing. We're mandating HVAC guys, transport guys, etc.. basically anyone can be mandates at this point. Apparently the our hospital system is short like 600 employees but only post a few at a time to USA jobs. I'm expecting this fight to drag for quite a while.
Gingersnap  
#6 Posted : Saturday, March 10, 2018 5:11:39 PM(UTC)
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Just wondering how your grievance process is going?

Mandations are still out of hand in my department. It's gotten to the point that I cannot make any plans for the evenings of my work days because there's always a chance I will be mandated to stay for the afternoon shift due to low staffing or a sick call. I'm beginning to consider pursuing the possibility of on-call pay.

I've learned a bit since my post two months ago. I learned that there is no set limit to the amount of times we can be mandated in a pay period. I had thought that it was limited to twice but I was incorrect. :(

I've also learned that if we choose to exercise our right to 12 hours off between shifts and therefore come in 4 hours "late" the day after a mandated 16 hour shift, we are required to use A/L or S/L for those four hours. The fact that we worked an extra 8 hours does not relieve us from our regularly-scheduled 40 hour work week. (At least this is what I'm told by supervisory personnel.)
Xrayfed  
#7 Posted : Sunday, March 11, 2018 12:13:47 AM(UTC)
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So these guys had the nerve to deny it again because "the employee is only guaranteed 12 hours between Regularly Scheduled shifts" and was not "required to go home but chose to do so" etc etc. Total horse *****. Basically if you follow their logic you can be called in at any time for any reason and it basically makes having call or stand-by irrelevant. Which is insane BS. So now we go to arbitration. I'm hoping to make this a way bigger deal than I had originally planned. This is a systematic VA problem. I have heard from friends all across the country about this. Management is using the mandate process as a scheduling tool, not for the "emergencies" it was designed for. Being short staffed for years is not an unforseen emergency. Neither is not having a plan in place for emergencies (call, pool, part-timers, standby, etc). And then even if you accept that this is a reasonable policy, you can't just tweek at random in ways such as this.. work full shift, be told in the last 10 minutes of your shift to come back 7.5 hours later to work a second full shift. Like i wasn't on my time.. I didn't sleep.. I was pissed.. I was only home for 6 hours. When I got back I was so delirious I could barely function... Doing patient care. This insane garbage needs to end, agency wide. Management gets awesome bonuses because we are able to do as well as we do at half or 3/4 staff. Incentivized abuse is not ok.
Gingersnap  
#8 Posted : Sunday, March 11, 2018 10:24:53 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Xrayfed Go to Quoted Post
So these guys had the nerve to deny it again because "the employee is only guaranteed 12 hours between Regularly Scheduled shifts"



According to the AFGE Master Agreement 2011, Article 21, Section 3, Paragraph D (page 91):
"Employees shall not be required to report to work unless they have had
at least 12 hours of off-duty time between work tours."

I don't see the words "regularly scheduled".

The CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Title 29 › Subtitle B › Chapter V › Subchapter A › Part 553 › Subpart C › Section 553.220 defines "tour of duty":
"This term... means the period of time during which an employee is considered to be on duty for purposes of determining compensable hours. It may be a scheduled or unscheduled period."
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