Sick Leave Shenanigans

What happens when your supervisor approves your sick leave, but then makes you make-up your absence, or find your own replacement? Both of these tactics are prohibited by our NAPE contract.

A Staff Care Tech II wasn’t feeling well and called in sick for her Saturday morning shift at the Western Nebraska Veterans’ Home in Scottsbluff. She used earned sick leave for the day, but then was told by management that she needed to “make up” the shift the following weekend. Additionally, if the new shift did not work for her, she would be responsible for finding her own replacement.

There were a number of contract violations in this case. First, if an employee uses their sick leave, they can’t be forced to make up the shift. Doing so would require the employee to forfeit the benefit of their earned sick leave. Second, the NAPE contract has language in the Veterans’ Affairs appendix regarding the assignment of temporary schedule changes, and management did not follow the contract in this case. Finally, no employee at any agency (at any time) can be required to find their own replacement. It is a management duty to assign staff to shifts.

NAPE filed a grievance on behalf of the affected worker and won! This was much bigger than one worker, because the Western Nebraska Veterans’ Home had a policy that any employee missing a weekend shift would have to make up the shift the following weekend. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs acknowledged during the grievance process that this policy was not valid under the NAPE contract and has rescinded the policy.

If you think your manager, agency, or worksite is violating the contract, or you have questions about their actions, do not hesitate to contact the NAPE office for assistance!