New policies are in place for the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) with regards to overtime and on call policies, approved by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) board of directors.
The previous policies were identified as needing updates during the 2021 wildfire season. The on call policy was revised for the purpose of ensure that an EOC activities are not impeded by the lack of staff. By accepting on call services, staff are indicating their availability to work in an EOC within thirty minutes of receiving a call to start work.
As a result, it was determined that on call workers should be compensated for their standby time. As part of the new EOC policies, on call time is to be paid 25 per cent of the staff members regularly hourly rate up to a daily maximum. The daily maximum of standby hours that an employee can claim is the lesser of; 12 hours, or 24 hours minus the number of hours worked.
The Provincial government recognizes overtime for an EOC worker paid at 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 times their regularly hourly rates of pay. The new policy specifies when these different rates will be used.
Workers will now be paid their regular hourly rate for up to eight hours of a work day. For hours between eight and 12 hours of a work day workers will make 1.5 times their regular pay, and for over 12 hours of a work day, they will make two times their hourly wages.
For weekends and statutory holidays, workers are entitled to 1.5 times their regular pay for the first 12 hours, and 2.0 times their regular pay for over 12 hours of work.
Immediately after an employee has been released from active EOC duty to rest, an employee may receive paid time off. Paid time off will be at an employee’s regular daily rate of pay. Employees taking this leave are expected to rest and recover from their active EOC duties.
The reason for implementing days of rest into the policy is to combat against worker fatigue. It was an item discussed after the 2018 wildfires, and the RDBN executive committee asked that staff bring forward a recommendation to the board to support the mental health of staff during extraordinary events.