RNC officers, government reach agreement

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association has ratified a new collective agreement by a vote of 90 per cent.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association and the provincial government have reached an agreement on a contract.

Association members have voted 90 per cent in favour of acceptance of a deal, although terms of any salary increases were not disclosed.

RNCA president Tim Buckle said a new contract improves maternity leave benefits, which reflects the changing demographics in policing. (CBC)

The government and the RNCA, which represents about 350 rank-and-file members of the force, said in a statement that salaries are determined through "a compensation formula using analysis of comparable sized police forces across the country."

The agreement includes new parental and maternity benefits and eliminates severance pay for officers.

Effective Sept. 30, 2013, severance pay will no longer be accrued by employees. Officers who currently meet the qualifications for severance can opt to take a one-time payout.

RNCA president Tim Buckle said the acceptance vote is reflective of the new reality in policing.

"The recruitment of females in this non-traditional workplace makes the RNC that much more attractive for young women and families, by providing this financial support during periods of leave for parental reasons," Buckle said in a statement.

Under the new agreement, a police officer taking parental and maternity benefits may be eligible to receive more than 90 per cent of their weekly pay rate each week, for up to 17 weeks of leave.

Salaries are not included in collective bargaining and are set through an established compensation formula.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Darin King said the province's public sector unions shouldn't draw any conclusions from the new deal signed with the RNCA.

Contracts with the large public sector unions, NAPE and CUPE, expired more than a year ago.