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    • 03 JAN 18
    • 11
    Gaps in Our Benefits

    Gaps in Our Benefits

    Will your benefits support you and your family when you need it most?

    Taco Niet, FSA Member & Tech Rep

    Listening to the rhetoric from BCIT Human Resources, one gets the impression that BCIT will support its employees whatever happens, in health and with a good benefits plan as one of “BC’s Top Employers”. The reality, however, is that both BCIT and the extended health insurance company they contract for our benefits are prepared to let members and their families fall through the cracks in times of need. Recent cases have highlighted some of these gaps.

    If you are unlucky enough to get ill and require long term disability (LTD), but are able to work part time, our LTD plan does not provide any benefit. You may be able to rely on sick leave for a while, but that is limited as well. Members able to work part time despite an illness are sooner or later in a bind where they cannot get any LTD benefit and cannot get any sick day benefits. This means that your income is significantly reduced at a time when you are already hampered by an illness.

    Two additional challenges occur for anyone in the position of being able to work part time. If they fall below a 50% workload, even for documented medical reasons, they lose their extended medical coverage. So, you can’t get LTD because you can work part time, but you can’t work enough to get benefits. And, to add insult to injury, if you fall below 10 paid working days per month, you don’t accrue any vacation days, not even pro-rated.

    Do you have dependents that are attending university? If they are covered by our extended health plan you’d better hope they don’t get ill. If they get ill and, due to illness, fall below a full time course load, their medical benefits disappear. So, rather than providing support for an ill dependent student, our extended health coverage leaves them out in the cold as they are too ill to get coverage.

    The response from HR when asked about these situations (which we hope no one else has to experience) is that there are very few people in this type of position. Rather than doing the right thing and saying, yes, there are few people in this position so we are going to make it right, BCIT says it can’t do anything. Advertising BCIT’s top employer status and promoting ‘health and wellness’ while letting people fall through the cracks is at best misleading. If BCIT wants to say it supports its employees as a top employer, it needs to stop being a penny-pinching institution that lets those in need who might cost them money fall by the wayside.

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  • Posted by Bella Villa on January 8, 2018, 8:38 am

    This is a great initiative. We really have a problem with regards to our Extended Health Plan. I am usually in pain and needs regular Physio but because I have to pay my Physio therapist fee in advance, I never used the benefit. I find it too expensive.
    Is there a way that benefits like this can be allotted to the employee per year and that employee does not have to pay any money upfront. If this could happen, it would be great.

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  • Posted by Jacquie Gaudet on January 19, 2018, 9:33 am

    Paying in advance isn’t a great detriment because our extended health benefit is only “$500 per year, limited to a maximum of $10 per visit for the first 5 visits in any calendar year” and physio is combined with massage therapy. So, depending on fees and how many appointments you need, you are reimbursed $50 for the first 5 visits (and pay the rest out-of-pocket) and then are covered for the next 5 or 6 visits. And then you are on your own.

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  • Posted by lorraine clarke roe on January 19, 2018, 10:10 am

    Interesting information – one hopes to never be in that kind of situation but it is good to be informed. thanks

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  • Posted by Liz Padilla on February 2, 2018, 9:57 am

    Thank goodness for my husband’s extended health care – Otherwise I could not have afforded my 3 months of physiotherapy visits (8 visits) – for an injury that could have had long term debilitation! Really, a $10 reimbursement per physio is worthless.

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  • Posted by Jeff Dyck on March 9, 2018, 12:02 pm

    The $10 reimbursement for physio, chiro, etc. is woefully insufficient. Please address this as soon as possible.

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  • Posted by Paul Reniers on March 12, 2018, 9:11 am

    With so many issues needing to be addressed in bargaining next year, wages and benefits are still emerging as the top issues and maybe more important than ever.

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  • Posted by Brian Gaensbauer on April 20, 2018, 10:31 am

    Thanks for informing members about the reality of the benefits package and BCIT policies. When you (or your dependent) really need help due to medical problems, it probably won’t be there for you – carefully inserted loopholes will see to that.

    Keep your family healthy and cross your fingers – that’s your best bet.

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  • Posted by bg123 on June 22, 2018, 11:01 am

    As a long time FSA member with a new chronic health problem that requires “accommodation” and expensive medication, I’ve experienced the other side of the benefits package. My feeling is that I am a burden for the administration and an unnecessary expense for the insurance company – perhaps someone to shed from the books.

    I’ve been told that there are few FSA members in my position, and I’m not surprised – it is my feeling that people like me are eventually forced out one way or another.

    Either the benefits plan and treatment from HR need to be upgraded to match the BCIT public relations statements, or the public relations statements need to be downgraded to match reality.

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  • Posted by Paul Reniers on June 25, 2018, 9:47 am

    BCIT’s claims about our benefits program have been pretty outrageous for a long time. For many years, BCIT has been cited as a ‘best employer’ in part because of the maternity leave top-up. The top-up only became available to FSA members, the majority of BCIT employees, this year after the FSA made it a priority in the last round of bargaining. Although we’ve raised these concerns numerous times with the employer, we’ve been reluctant to be too public about it both for the sake of that relationship and for the recruiting challenges our departments are already facing.

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  • Posted by Anna on July 13, 2018, 12:37 pm

    I am a part-time member who tutors online at BCIT through distance education. I found out this year that I have been entitled to benefits for YEARS but because I didn’t inform HR, that I had the requisite hours, I didn’t get the benefits. I just assumed that I didn’t qualify because I work part time and my contract is renewed every three months. I have been paying out of pocket for years for many medically necessary appointments for my daughter. I am thankful that my benefits have started as of July 1st this year, but disappointed in the process that denied me benefits for years. I too was told by HR that “there are very few people in your position”….

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  • Posted by Paul Reniers on July 13, 2018, 4:11 pm

    What a terribly frustrating experience. Thanks for sharing this with us, Anna. We believe there are several more PTS Instructors in your situation. The FSA tries to promote this benefit regularly, but we know we don’t reach everyone. Remarkably, BCIT’s HR department does not keep files on PTS Instructors. They only know if someone qualifies for benefits if they review an individual’s contract history. That’s why they require PTS Instructors to apply for benefits and they only do this once a year. We’ve been trying to make changes to how this system is administered for years. Having stories of how specific individuals have been impacted will lend weight to those efforts.

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