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Article Seven — Health, Pension and Safety

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7.1 Benefit Fund.

The Employees covered by this Agreement, as provided herein, are participants in and covered by the Health Care Chapter United Federation of Teachers Benefit Fund (“Fund”). 

Effective January 1, 2014 and thereafter, any changes negotiated between the Employer and the FON/UFT Registered Nurses with respect solely to the Benefit Fund shall also be applicable to Licensed Practical Nurses.

For  mail order of maintenance drugs, an Employee may order a 60‑day supply with only one co‑payment.

For each Regular Part-Time Employee, the Employer will contribute a pro rata share of the above-stated amounts.

The Employer will make contributions on behalf of new LPNs hired prior to the fifteenth (15th) day of a month on the first (1st) day of the following month and will make contributions on behalf of new LPNs hired on or after the fifteenth day of the month on the first (1st) day of the second (2nd) month.

Contributions shall be paid monthly by the Employer for Employees on a paid status, no later than the third (3rd) week following the month for which they are computed. Part-Time Employees may elect to contribute, by payroll deduction, on a pre-tax basis, the difference between the Employer's pro rata share of the individual, Employee plus one or family coverage elected and the monthly contribution payable on behalf of the Full-Time Employees in order to be eligible to receive full-time benefits.

  1. This contribution shall be used to provide health and welfare and related benefits for the LPNs on whose behalf contributions are made.
  2. The Fund shall be held and administered under the terms and provisions of the Trust Agreement and any amendment thereof.
  3. An independent audit of the Fund shall be made annually and a statement of results thereof shall be furnished to the Employer.
  4. The Fund shall secure and retain any necessary approval of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a qualified benefit fund as well as any other governmental or other approval.
  5. The Employer will continue Workers' Compensation Coverage and Short-Term Disability Coverage in accordance with law.
  6. he foregoing are expressed conditions of the contributions under this Section and any obligation to make contributions shall cease and any amount contributed shall be returned on failure of any of the foregoing conditions.

The parties will support, and the Employer will pay for, coverage of Domestic Partners of Employees of the Employer who are participants in the Fund under this Agreement if the Employee elects such coverage on a form provided by the Employer.  Domestic Partners as used in this Section 7.1 (Benefit Fund) refers to an individual who meets the standards set forth in Mayoral Executive Order 48 of 1993 and Section 2, Chapter 2 of Title 3 of the Administrative Code set forth below, and who have registered as domestic partners or executed an equivalent affidavit if ineligible to register because neither are residents of the City of New York, and have not terminated the domestic partnership.

  1. Both persons are eighteen (18) years of age or older.
  2. Neither of the persons is married.
  3. Neither person is a party to another domestic partnership, or had been a party to another domestic partnership within the six (6) months prior to registration.
  4. The persons are not related to each other by blood in a manner that would bar their marriage in the state of New York.
  5. The persons have a close and committed personal relationship, live together, and have been living together on a continuous basis.

Proof of registration, or the equivalent affidavit if applicable, shall be provided to the Fund together with the form for election of domestic partner coverage.  The Fund shall advise the Employer of an Employee’s election of domestic partner coverage for tax purposes.

During the term of this Agreement, Regular Full-Time LPNs and Regular Part-Time LPNs, but not Per Diem LPNs (“Eligible Employees”), may voluntarily opt out of coverage by the UFT Health Care Chapter Fund once a year, during the month of open enrollment, or upon hire, for new nurses.  Regular Full-Time LPNs who elect to opt out of coverage shall receive an annual payment of $1,500 to be paid six (6) months following the Regular Full-Time LPN’s election to opt out of coverage. Regular Part-Time LPNs who elect to opt out of coverage shall receive a pro-rata annual payment to be paid out six (6) months following the Regular Part-Time LPN’s election to opt out of coverage.  To be eligible for this benefit, Employees must demonstrate that they have generally comparable health insurance.  Employees opting out of coverage shall not be considered to have opted out in future years.  Each year, during open enrollment, an Eligible Employee who desires this benefit must affirmatively opt out and provide evidence of other generally comparable health insurance.  An Eligible Employee who fails to affirmatively opt out and provide evidence of other generally comparable health insurance shall be covered by the Fund. 

An Eligible Employee who has opted out of coverage may enroll in the Fund during the Plan year if the Employee loses the other health insurance coverage for any reason except failure to pay premiums or voluntary withdrawal from the other coverage for which the Employee is still eligible.  Upon enrollment pursuant to the prior sentence or upon termination of employment subsequent to the opt-out payment, the Eligible Employee will be obligated to reimburse the Employer with respect to the applicable opt-out payment on a pro-rata basis.  Upon enrollment pursuant to the first sentence in this paragraph or upon termination of Employment prior to the applicable opt-out payment, the Employer will be obligated to pay the Eligible Employee a pro-rata share of the applicable opt-out payment. 

An Eligible Employee who has opted out of Fund coverage may enroll during the Plan year only if coverage is requested within thirty (30) days after the other coverage has terminated, unless an unforeseeable circumstance prevented the request for enrollment from being made within the thirty (30) day period.

No contributions will be made by the Employer to the Fund on behalf of Employees who elect to opt out of coverage by the Fund.  The Employer will provide the Union with a list of Employees who have elected to opt out of coverage by the Fund.  Upon enrollment to the Fund, the Employer shall commence contributions to the Fund on the first (1st) day of the following month after enrollment.

7.2 Per Diem "Plus" Program.

A Per Diem Employee compensated by the Employer on a per visit basis who agrees to make a minimum of thirty (30) visits in each of forty-two (42) workweeks in a twelve-month (12) period, and who elects this status with the reasonable approval of the Employer, shall during such twelve-month (12) period receive a per visit rate equal to the applicable Per Diem Rate minus a dollar amount which when multiplied by 1,260 equals the applicable actuarially-equivalent individual, Employee plus one or family rate based on the composite annualized rate set forth in Section 7.1 for the first thirty (30) visits in any workweek and shall be covered at Employer expense under the Fund as long as he or she maintains such schedule during that twelve-month (12) period.  Visits in excess of thirty (30) per workweek by such Per Diem Employee shall be paid at a per visit rate equal to the applicable Per Diem Rate, without reduction.  Visits made in workweeks in excess of forty-two (42) workweeks in a twelve (12) month period shall be paid at a per visit rate equal to the applicable Per Diem Rate, without reduction.  The forty-two-workweek (42) schedule agreed to by the Employer and the Per Diem Employee must include at least five (5) workweeks in the July-August period and at least two (2) of the following five (5) priority holiday periods:  (a) Christmas Day and a two-day period as defined annually by the Employer; (b) New Year's Day and a two-day period as defined annually by the Employer; (c) Independence Day and a two-day period as defined annually by the Employer; (d) Labor Day and the Saturday and Sunday prior to the holiday; and (e) a holiday listed in Section 8.1.1 and a two-day period as defined annually by each Regional Administrator or Department Head, as applicable, or designee. A Per Diem Plus Employee shall be credited for one visit towards the thirty (30) weekly visits requirement for each hour beyond the first hour of attendance at meetings and In-service Education required by the Employer, provided that such Per Diem Plus Employee will still be required to make 1,260 visits to patients at the Per Diem Plus rate during the applicable twelve-month period.

7.3 Pension.

During the term of this Agreement, the Employer shall maintain in effect the current level of pension benefits in effect for the Licensed Practical Nurses.

The Employer shall continue its participation in the Social Security Program.

Other Employer pension plan improvements instituted by VNSNY Home Care during the term of this Agreement for VNSNY Home Care Employees generally will also be instituted for Employees covered by this Agreement.

7.4 Long Term Disability.

Employees may participate in the voluntary Long Term Disability Program established under the Employer/Union Agreement covering Registered Nurses funded entirely by Employee participant payroll deduction contributions. 

7.5 Employer Obligation.

The Employer will observe all applicable health and safety laws.

7.6 Employee Obligation.

Every Employee will observe all applicable health and safety laws and comply with all Employer health and safety rules and instructions.

7.7 Health Examinations.

Both parties recognize that there are legal requirements and practices concerning health examinations and it is the intention of the parties to comply with these legal requirements.

7.8 Injury During Working Hours.

If an Employee sustains an injury during working hours, and as a result is entitled to payment for loss of work and medical expenses under the New York State Workers' Compensation Law, the Employer shall pay such Employee the Employee's regular compensation rate, less any amount payable for that week from Workers' Compensation (if any), for loss of work during the first week, i.e., five (5) workdays (four (4) workdays for Employees working four-day (4) workweek schedule, three (3) workdays for Employees working three-day (3) workweek schedule), after such injury during working hours. A Regular Full-Time Employee absent more than five (5) workdays (four (4) workdays for Employees working four-day (4) workweek schedule) will have the option while on Workers' Compensation leave of absence of taking his or her accumulated sick leave on a day-to-day basis at the rate of one-third (1/3) sick time per day.  Regular Part-Time Employees will receive pro rata benefits under this Section.

7.9 Flexible Spending (Payroll Deduction) Account for Dependent Care.

Nothing in this Agreement shall preclude the Employer from implementing a Flexible Spending (Payroll Deduction) Account for dependent care for all Employees covered by this Agreement through IRS Code §§125 and 129, or from modifying or discontinuing such Program after consultation with the Union.

7.10 Thrift Plan.

Employees are eligible to participate in the Thrift Plan for Employees of VNS subject to terms and conditions set forth in the Plan. Per Diem Employees participate on a non-Employer match basis.