November 30, 2020
SFL calls on Sask. Party government to make ‘hero pay’ available to all workers
Provincial government has only allocated half of available funds- the second lowest of all provinces and territories
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is calling on the Sask. Party government to allocate the remainder of the money made available by the federal government to support essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While other provinces have allocated the majority of their share to top up the wages of essential health care workers, Saskatchewan has left millions of dollars on the table unspent,” said SFL President Lori Johb. “With cases of COVID-19 rapidly increasing and our health care system overwhelmed , it’s time the government recognize the work of our front line heroes, and ensure that this money goes to those workers who are putting their health and safety at risk.”
Earlier this year, the federal government announced a cost-shared program to support essential health care workers with wage top-ups. According to information originally obtained by the Alberta Federation of Labour, the Saskatchewan government has only spent just over half of the $102 million the federal government has made available for the program-the second lowest of all the provinces and territories.
Johb also called on the government to stop picking and choosing which health care workers are eligible to receive a wage top up, and make the funding available for all front line health care workers, including all hospital staff and workers at Community Based Organizations (CBOs).
“It’s bad enough that the government isn’t spending the money, they are also leaving many health care workers off the list of eligible employees,” Johb said. “The Sask. Party government have joined us in applauding front line heroes, but the reality is they are leaving many behind. Now is not the time to be cheap- all health care workers should be available to receive wage top ups, and every penny available from this program should be spent.”
Three Saskatchewan unions representing health care workers have started a petition calling on the Sask. Party to provide a wage top up for all health care workers. People can sign the petition at https://skhealthproviders.ca.
With the fall sitting of the legislature starting today, Johb also said that she hopes the government uses the session to pass legislation that puts workers first and would help reduce the spread of COVID-19, including paid sick time for all workers, smaller classroom sizes, and ending understaffing in long term care.
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