There are a few strict laws about worker rights and some less enforced guidelines that employers should follow and uphold no matter what industry they operate in. But how do these rights and guidelines affect you after CNA training and what are the industry specific guidelines you should be aware of?
After CNA Training – General Workers’ Rights
- You have the right to a safe workplace – In hospitals and health facilities this is particularly important for not only you as a CNA but an unsafe work environment will affect your colleagues and patients too. You have the right to operate in a work place free from occupational hazards, so if you see something you think is not right say something to a manager or supervisor.
- You have a right to overtime pay unless specified in your contract- Always check your work conditions and contract before you sign it to ensure you know what you are entitled to.
- You have the right to equal pay regardless of gender- After you have completed your CNA training you are entitled to the same rate of pay as someone with similar experience, qualifications and job description regardless of whether they are male or female.
- You have the right to family or medical leave- Exact hours and entitlements will vary, talk to your local worker’s rights advocate or representative for more details.
- You are entitled to a workplace free of discrimination – This is one of the most important rights you have. If after your CNA training you find yourself in a work environment that has some elements of discrimination, you can have the issue addressed by supervisors or escalate your concerns to a worker’s rights advocate. All workers have the right to a workplace free of discrimination regardless of age, disability, gender, race, color, ethnicity or national origin, pregnancy or citizenship status.
- You are entitled to a workplace free from sexual harassment – Once you have completed your CNA training and are working in a health facility you are entitled to feel safe in your workplace, this means that any sexual harassment can be reported and supervisors have a responsibility to take appropriate action on your behalf.
- You are entitled to join a union- An organisation such as National Network of Career Nursing Assistants can be an advocate for your rights at work, there are a number of unions and support networks that charge a small annual joining fee for their advocacy and lobbying services. Many people find union useful in maintaining their rights in the workplace but it is certainly not essential and is a personal choice.
Additional rights and working condition guidelines that may vary from state to state include
- Fair working hours – Different states and industries have different guidelines amount maximum and minimum reasonable work hours and rest period between shifts
- CNA to Patient ratios- The amount of patients’ care that you are permitted to personally be responsible for is dictated on a state by state basis and varies from 10 to 20 as a general rule.
- Minimum wage – Again minimum acceptable rate of pay for workers who have undergone CNA training is a state by state issue that your local workers’ rights advocate or state government will be able advise you about.