Feedback for Exemptions and Exclusions Under the Employment Standards Act

Pharmacist  ·  Nov. 23, 2017

I currently work in a pharmacy for a mass merchandiser and I do receive a vacation pay, overtime, and holiday pay. However, due to changes made in how long the pharmacy is open (7-10 pm - 7 days a week) we no longer have any overlap and no longer are afforded any meal break or even real time to go to the washroom. The company policy states "that it is the responsibility of the pharmacist to ensure that they have adequate nutrition to sustain themselves throughout their shift" However, in reality the constant barge of questions and demands makes that nearly impossible. I have gone many shifts without eating or drinking anything and on occasion felt my ability to concentrate and focus has been compromised - I have resorted to checking my blood sugar (I am not diabetic) and my levels have been close to 4 - so it is not recommended to drive a car if your BS is <5 but a pharmacist continues to check prescriptions. The college and my employer would state that I have a responsibility to ensure I don't put my patients at risk and of course I did not, but how many pharmacists operate every day with that same situation potentially making a dispensing error. in many European countries stores including pharmacies close during the middle of the day for a meal and their patients seem to survive quite well. We have allowed a situation to develop were by the public perceives that they should never have to wait for anything and they should be able to access everything when ever they feel the desire. I believe it is actually in the best interest of the public that the exemptions for meal breaks be removed for pharmacists and they should be given a 30 min meal break.

The majority of pharmacists working in community today are working for corporations and not the small independent pharmacy, these corporations are financial able to give the pharmacists the same benefits (i.e.: overtime, holiday pay and vacation pay) that they do the rest of the staff.

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