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COVID Benefit Enhancements: COVID sick leave, childcare, hotel housing

A month into an unprecedented pandemic, our union members continue to rise to the challenge of caring for patients in extremely difficult circumstances. Our members are dealing with a national PPE shortage, closure and relocation of services, evolving procedures and additional family obligations. Many other healthcare workers are in even more dire straits without a strong union to protect them against retaliation or layoff. At KP we’re fortunate, even in this crisis, to have a strong Alliance and a partnership with the employer that produced strong benefit improvements. After a week of fast-moving negotiations, KP has finalized an enhanced benefit package, incorporating proposals from the Alliance Executive Board and other unions. On Monday, April 13, KP will provide information about how to access the benefits.

Enhanced benefits

  • Up to 80 hours additional paid leave for employees sick with COVID confirmed by a positive test

  • Childcare grants of $210 to $300 per week based on hours worked.

  • Short-term hotel housing

These benefits are available to employees, including per diems, working during this period at a KP facility, or providing care on behalf of KP in a non-KP facility. They do not apply to employees exclusively working from home. Starting Monday, April 13, KP says a call center to help KP employees navigate these benefits will be available seven days a week. The package extends through May 31, and we will push for an extension past that date if necessary based on the spread of COVID. Here are more details. Up to 80 hours additional paid leave: An additional 80 hours of paid leave will be provided to eligible employees who test positive for COVID-19. If the employee is sent home and is waiting for a test or for test results, the employee will be eligible for COVID leave for any day they are waiting to be tested and while they wait to receive the results (see slide 7 of the attachment for details). Even if the COVID test turns out negative, the time before the test result is received will be covered by COVID leave. The employee won’t be penalized for a lack of testing, or delay in testing results. The hours are prorated based on actual hours worked. KP says they are continuing to improve testing capacity, and will be further revising guidelines to expand workers’ access to testing. Childcare grants: Workers will be eligible for grants of up to $300 per week to secure childcare for school-age children (14 years or younger) or dependent disabled adult children while at work. The grant will be prorated if work is less than 32 hours; the minimum grant is $210 per week. Eligible caregivers exclude spouse or domestic partner residing in the household. Other relatives are eligible caregivers. Short-term hotel housing near facility: Based on availability for workers who have worked three, 12-hour shifts, or based on manager’s approval for long commutes, exhaustion, and similar circumstances. Request through your manager. Alliance affiliate UNITE HERE Local 5 has pointed out the critical need to ensure proper infection control for the protection of hotel workers, and guests, including health care workers. As more and more employers and states set up these kinds of programs, we are joining UNITE HERE in demanding proper infection control cleaning protocols. Fast-moving negotiations: KP first outlined a package last week. Since the initial proposal, many improvements were made based on feedback from the Alliance and other unions. The final package is identical for all KP unions. Improvements we made include increasing the grant amount for childcare, expanding circumstances for hotel stays, stronger commitments on testing and sick leave, and including per diems working 20 hours a week. This enhanced benefit package is an important step to support employees in this unprecedented crisis. When combined with the other benefits bargained in our union contracts, our wages, and our strong job security provisions, KP remains the industry leader in pay and benefits thanks to the strength of our partnership, the commitment of our union members, and the solidarity of our unions. While this benefit package moves us forward, as an Alliance we continue to work on many other critical related issues affecting our members and our patients. For more details, see complete benefit enhancements here.

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