8.1 Definition. The educational and professional leave program shall consist of two components, in-service training and elective educational and professional leave. The Employer shall continue to provide in-service, including skills classes, and elective educational and professional leave opportunities to staff nurses. The program is designed to increase staff proficiency in nursing and to prepare nursing staff for greater responsibility. This recognizes the joint commitment of UWMC and staff nurses to the delivery of quality patient care as well as employee interest in enhancing individual professional skills.
8.2 In-service Education. In-service education programs shall be instituted and maintained within the Medical Center. The programs shall be made available to all nurses regardless of shift. These programs are to contribute toward staff development and toward the preparation of the nursing staff for greater proficiency and/or responsibility in nursing. To accomplish this, educational resources from both inside and outside the Medical Center can be utilized.
Nurses in the bargaining unit shall be expected to participate in in-service education programs offered during working hours; coverage will be provided when necessary as determined by the Nurse Manager or designee. If a nurse is requested to attend an in-service program on off-duty time such time will be considered work time and paid accordingly. These programs shall be planned as feasible to meet CERP requirements for approval. Nurses shall be expected to incorporate new learning into job performance.
When mandatory training is held during the nurses’ regularly scheduled work day and the nurse is assigned to attend, attendance shall be considered part of the nurses’ normal work assignment.
8.3 Educational and Professional Leave. The Employer will grant a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours of educational professional leave within the fiscal year (currently July 1 – June 30) to nurses requesting such leave. Such leave may be used if staffing permits and shall be prorated for part-time nurses. For purposes of sections 8.3 and 8.4 only, .9 FTE and above shall be considered full time. In addition, nurses may be granted up to an additional sixteen (16) hours (pro-rated for part time) of education and professional leave at the nurse’s regular rate of pay during the fiscal year. Such additional leave shall be subject to budgetary considerations, scheduling requirements, subject matter and approval by the employer.
For purposes of this Article, educational and professional leave shall be defined as,
In accordance with the unit’s scheduling guidelines, requests for educational and professional leave shall be submitted and responded to in writing including the reason for any denial. Responses will be issued as soon as possible but no later than two weeks prior to the posting of the final schedule. Any prior year requests that were denied because of resource limitations will be taken into consideration in reviewing subsequent requests for educational/professional leave.
Educational and professional leave granted for on-line or other self-study (CEARP approved educational offering) will be determined retroactively. The nurse manager may approve either time off or straight time pay, exclusive of additional premiums. The number of hours shall not exceed the contact hours awarded by the accrediting body.
8.4 Education Support Funds. In support of UWMC’s commitment to continuing professional nursing education and development, the Employer will establish continuing education funds to assist permanent nurses with continuing education expenses including but not limited to certification fees, re-certification fees, books, magazines, seminars, tuition for college courses, audio or video cassette courses, and conference registration. Such assistance will be subject to Nurse Manager’s approval of the subject matter and the nurse’s successful completion of the coursework.
8.4.1 The Employer will provide $250.00 per bargaining unit nurse FTE at the beginning of each fiscal year. From the beginning of the fiscal year through the end of February of the following year, each nurse shall be guaranteed up to the $250.00 (pro-rated for part-time nurses) to pay for continuing education expenses. Nurses who prior to the end of February, have a request approved for the use of guaranteed education support money after the end of February shall have that money set aside for such use and it will not be pooled as outlined below.
8.4.2 Effective March 1st the unspent portion of the $250.00 per bargaining unit FTE shall be pooled on a Medical Center-wide basis. From March 1st through the end of the fiscal year (June 30th), the fund shall be allocated on an equitable basis.
There shall be an annual maximum usage of $500.00 per nurse, pro-rated for part-time nurses (which includes that portion of the $250.00 per bargaining unit FTE used by the nurse). Nurses may request to be reimbursed for continuing education expenses incurred prior to March 1rst which exceeded the nurses’ guaranteed allocation.
If the Association believes the appropriation of the pooled funds occurs in an unfair or unreasonable manner, it will be discussed in Conference Committee.
8.4.3 The Medical Center shall track, by Unit, the following:
- The amount of educational funds requested;
- The number of education leave hours requested;
- The number of education leave hours granted;
- The amount of educational funds granted.
The Medical Center shall present the data from (1)–(4) above to the bargaining unit in Conference Committee on a semi-yearly basis.
8.5 Tuition Exemption Program. Employees will be eligible to participate in the University's tuition exemption program in accordance with applicable law. Information about the program will be available at UWMC Human Resources Office.