At one of the services I work for they staff the unit with 1 paramedic and 1 non paramedic. One of the non paramedics is going on to paramedic school and was told through the grapevine that if she becomes a paramedic she will lose her full time position and become a PRN paramedic. The reasoning behind this is there isn't enough money in the budget to pay for another full time paramedic. Now my question is, isn't there a legal way to pay crew members different wages/hour, such as a senior medic "bonus"? I am sure I have heard of this before but can't remember where. If it helps or makes a difference our service is located in Illinois. Thanks in advance for any and all responses.
I always say in these kind of situations never listen to grapevine gossip. The best and most immediate advice is to sit down with a line manager and discuss the situation.
Whilst I'll admit being in the UK, laws are different but general principles should carry across.
There will ultimately be some change in working conditions after all your colleague is applying a change of role. There will be a different job description and contract of employment as a result.
If the service is sending to become a paramedic then there would be a duty to retain some allowences, base station shift pattern ect. We call it "work/life balance".
That said it sounds like the person is going for medic on their own as you have said the service has no money for another full time paramedic ergo they wouldn't fund training to begin with. If it is going off to get medic status off your own back then I guess you would resign your position anyway in order to attend classes as you can"t really do both if its a full time course.
I'm not familiar with the term PRN, I'm guessing it means a bank/flexible/relief paramedics. Being offered this on upscaling is nothing new and it will depend on the terms of the contract. Here some are given FTE contracts they will be given full time hours but it won't follow a pattern. You'll cover sickness annual leave and each week is never the same. The worse version of this is the zero hours relief where you will get shifts but there is no guarantee as to how many and when. That's why direct discussion with management is always better that the grapevine he hopes.
You can argue that you can pay the same paramedics differently based on experience, here we have an increment scheme where you pay increases on the scale on the birthday of your employment a new medic maybe paid less than a veteran EMT. However if you need to rewrite your pay package just to backdoor 1 extra employee its not going to happen.
Long story short sit down with the manager and get all the facts before making a decision
Thanks Neil. The term PRN, means as needed. Yes she is paying for the class on her own. This service only staffs 1 unit per 24/hr. The work schedule is very flexible, so as to accommodate personal lives and other jobs. I have learned not to believe anything until I hear it myself. This employee was concerned and I didn't have the immediate answer so I figured I would go to the next best place and that is here.
I've seen similar situations where there weren't enough FT medic slots, and the person continued on as a medic making their EMT wage until one opened up. I've also seen places upgrade the medic to medic wage in the anticipation that there would be an opening, thereby saving hiring costs. But I agree with Neil, she has to talk to the boss to clarify this.