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UPE News Item

008 Meet & Confer

DHA Trainee Workload Changes

      UPE and DHA met and conferred on August 21, 2020, to discuss the Department’s decision to change how work is allocated to Human Service Specialist (HSS) trainees as they move through probation.  New workers used to receive a 35% caseload upon reaching the Bureau from training.  Workload would then increase by 15% each subsequent month until reaching 100% during the sixth month out of training.  Under the new plan, workers will start at 40% and increase by 20% each month until reaching 100% during the fourth month out of training.  

      After questioning by UPE, the Department explained that the changes are the result of an increased use of on-the-job training during the lab-portion of training.  Currently, trainees receive up to four weeks of on-the-job training during training.  UPE was concerned that workers were going to be placed in a position to fail by having their workload increase too quickly.  However, the Department made it clear that they are only attempting to keep up with changes in training.  They are committed to making sure workers are successful during their training and probation.  

      The Department’s new rules outline some programs and functions that new workers would typically not be assigned to due to the complex and/or specialized nature of those duties; for instance, the Customer Service Representative (CSR) function or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) function.  The Department agreed to UPE’s proposal to notify and meet with UPE if they were ever to change this list of functions.  Additionally, they agreed to UPE’s proposal to provide UPE with notice whenever a worker was assigned to one of these functions during the first 6 months of employment.  The new caseloads will apply to all HSS training classes going forward.    

      Workers during probation are still entitled to union representation.  If you are on probation and have concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your steward or Business Agent.  

 

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