Hospital staff now working without new employment contracts should not worry following disclosure by Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. CEO Juan N. Babauta that their contracts have been automatically renewed.
Babauta said that personnel contracts that expired since 2011 were automatically renewed under the same terms and conditions.
Under these terms, the housing allowance for off-island hires will still be provided-until any amendment is finalized and executed, he added.
“It's not true that they're working without contracts because they have been automatically renewed and extended.and that contract continues to be paid,” Babauta told Saipan Tribune. Proof of this is the regular salary these personnel continue to receive, he said.
Many hospital employees, mostly nurses, earlier expressed concern about their status as they have yet to sign a new contract after their initial contract's expiration. They also did not get any notice that their contracts have been automatically renewed for another year.
Some affected employees expressed hope yesterday that the corporation will notify them in the future about the status of their contracts to avoid any confusion.
According to Babauta, the delay in the issuance or processing of the new contracts is due to the slow response of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
As of January, USCIS had approved only 36 out of the 120 CW applications filed by the corporation.
Babauta said this is causing uncertainty not only among affected employees but for the public hospital as well because these workers are critical to the Commonwealth Health Center's operation.
Meantime, employees were elated to receive on Monday a portion of their delayed housing allowance. The corporation issued the housing perk for July 2012 amounting to $600 for single employees and $800 for those with families. This benefit is provided to workers hired from outside the Commonwealth. There are 130 personnel that get this perk.
To date, the corporation is still behind by eight months on the housing allowance.
The lack of employment contracts at CHC was raised by board member Anthony Raho at the last board meeting. He urged the corporation to communicate with employees on issues that they need to be informed about.
Meantime, Saipan Tribune learned that the salaries of doctors and other clinical staff at CHC were adjusted to add the housing benefit to their salary base.