Employees urge Stanford Health Care to restore lost PTO

Stanford Health Care workers are calling on the Palo Alto, Calif.-based system to restore the paid time off they lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the union that represents them. 

Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West said more than 100 workers are scheduled to protest July 20, urging Stanford to restore vacation and other paid time off.

"This cut was unnecessary to begin with at one of the richest hospital systems in the state, and it is taking a huge toll on those of us working through some of the toughest and most taxing conditions in our professional lives," said Yolanda Gladney, a lab assistant III, in a news release. "Stanford could make this right with a snap of its corporate fingers — they have more than enough money — and the workers, our patients and our community are calling on them to do the right thing."

Stanford Health Care announced in April that it would implement a temporary workforce adjustment program that applied to all hospital employees. Employees who are not represented by a union could either use paid time off incrementally from April 27 to July 4 with the option to go into a negative PTO balance as needed, or take a 20 percent pay cut for the 10-week period. Stanford said unionized employees will also participate in the program during this period, subject to the terms and conditions of their respective contracts. On April 27, the health system reported that nearly all employees (99 percent) had chosen to use the PTO option. 

In a statement provided to Becker's July 20, Stanford noted the positive attributes of the workforce adjustment program.

"Following a drop in patient volumes and a significant loss in revenue resulting from delaying procedures in preparation for a surge in COVID-19 cases, our priorities have been to stand with our people, preserving their jobs and earnings," the statement says. "Through our temporary workforce adjustment program, we were able to keep everyone employed and our staff at full wages with benefits intact and provide options to maintain their earnings. All Stanford Health Care employees, including executive leadership, were required to participate in the TWA program."


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16 recent hospital-union conflicts, agreements

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