A union agreement with Kaiser Permanente will ease the burdens of about 80,000 health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the agreement, members of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions will receive assistance with child care and temporary shelter, and extra leave if they are tested for or diagnosed with COVID-19. The agreement applies to full-time, part-time and per-diem employees.
The agreement focuses on three key areas:
Child-care assistance: With schools closed, many health care employees are having difficulty finding affordable child care. Under the agreement, Kaiser employees who work 32 hours a week or more in a KP facility will be eligible for a grant of $300 per week to pay for child care for children 14 or younger (and disabled, dependent children). It can be used to pay for their own caregiver (as long as they are not a spouse or domestic partner) or to find child care outside of the home.
The stipend will last until May 31, 2020, and will be pro-rated for employees who work between 20 and 32 hours (including per-diem employees) with a minimum of $210 a week.
Temporary shelter: Kaiser will work with several hotel chains to provide alternative shelter for employees who:
- Test positive for COVID-19;
- Work a double shift;
- Work multiple 12-hour shifts;
- Have fewer than 8 hours between shifts; or
- Have a household member who either has COVID-19 or is in a CDC-defined vulnerable group.
Eligibility applies to all employees working at least 20 hours per week (including per-diem employees) at a KP facility between April 13 and May 31, 2020.
Eighty additional hours of leave for employees who test positive for COVID-19: Employees working at a KP facility more than 20 hours a week (including per-diem employees) who test positive for COVID-19 will receive up to 80 hours of administrative leave. This is above and beyond regularly accrued leave. Employees who are sent home from Kaiser and are awaiting a test result will also be covered.
“As healthcare workers in the middle of this pandemic, we know our duty is to our patients and the community, and we take that duty very seriously. But we can only give our best if we know our own lives and our families are protected as well,” said Juanita Kamhoot, who works in surgical services at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas, Oregon. “This agreement will make a real difference at a time when we need every healthcare worker on the job and focused on taking care of COVID-19 patients.”