Monday, August 26, 2013

Questions and Concerns at Pacific Hospital - Part 2

          After writing about my questions and concerns a few months ago (Questions and Concerns at Pacific Hospital) following the FBI and IRS raid at my place of work, it has been quiet until recently. The employees have always known that the hospital was looking for a buyer as well as a new management company for the psychiatric units, and it may be possible that the buyer might manage those psych units as well.
          Unverified rumors have been abounding in recent days about Pacific Hospital already being sold and that an announcement will be made in early September. As to who the buyer is, rumor has it (pardon me Adele), it is College Hospital, who owns College Hospital in Cerritos and Costa Mesa. That company has done several tours of Pacific Hospital in recent months so they definitely showed an interest. Some employees have mentioned (again unverified) that when Pacific Hospital hands over the operation to College Hospital, the employees will be asked to sign some papers ending their (our) employment with Pacific and start anew with College, essentially from scratch. The speculation includes forfeiting our accrued vacation time or PTO and a possible decrease in hourly salary, plus elimination of shift differential for the night shift. With a little search on the internet regarding California Labor Law, unused vacation time will have to be paid by the employer upon termination of employment, so it's illegal to forfeit it. Doesn't a change of ownership constitute a termination? Getting paid my vacation time is a great concern for me because I have a lot of hours accrued which I had intended to use for emergencies. This is the section of the Labor Law which covers vacation time: which specifically states:
What happens to my earned and accrued but unused vacation if I am discharged or quit my job?
Under California law, unless otherwise stipulated by a collective bargaining agreement, whenever the employment relationship ends, for any reason whatsoever, and the employee has not used all of his or her earned and accrued vacation, the employer must pay the employee at his or her final rate of pay for all of his or her earned and accrued and unused vacation days. Labor Code Section 227.3. Because paid vacation benefits are considered wages, such pay must be included in the employee's final paycheck.
          There are a couple of scenarios that have run through my mind. One is to wait for the announcement and just go with the flow and be rehired by the new company with the possible loss of vacation time (if their lawyers found some kind of loophole). The other is to resign as soon as possible so the accrued vacation time can be cashed out before the new company takes over, then after a few weeks, reapply for the same job for lower pay. Of course being rehired is not a sure thing, so that's another concern. Like I mentioned before, there are not too many jobs available in the psychiatric hospital business nowadays. If I quit and cash out my vacation time, I may be able to get by on it for 2 to 3 months, but also have to sign up for COBRA insurance so I continue to be covered by medical insurance, that is, until Obamacare takes over in 2014 (in case I get unemployed for the long term). For now, it's all up in the air because the employees have been kept in the dark and have been left with rumors and speculation. Meanwhile, time is running out. I wish I had the facts.
A couple of days after I posted this entry, the facts were revealed to the employees: Questions and Concerns at Pacific Hospital - Part 3

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Anonymous said...

Guess you need to hear the news that got announced today

Noel DLP said...

Nope, I was off from work. I'm sure I'll hear about it when I return tomorrow.