Many members have contacted the Union with the same concerns regarding the deductions made to the pandemic pay.
Your Employer has confirmed that deductions were made based on the fact that members received a "Covid premium pay" during the period of March 23 until May 24, 2020. The funding for the premium pay comes directly from the "Safe Staffing Strategies" with BC Housing. The pandemic pay funding period was March 15 until July 4th, 2020. The Government deducted the premium amounts that were previously paid to staff March 23 to May 24, 2020. For clarification, the Employer's invoice, provided to the Government, for the calculations of pandemic pay included:
- total cost for the pandemic pay ($4/hour)
- total amount to be deducted for the Covid premium pay
According to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) B.C. Temporary Pandemic Pay Program: https://www.cssea.bc.ca/PDFs/Communications/TPP_FAQs_October2020.pdf
7. What if an employee was eligible for more than one top-up program, do they still get temporary pandemic pay as well a top-up like the BC Housing Safe Staffing program?
• An employee can be eligible for more than one top-up program, but provincially funded top-up payments cannot be stacked - they may, however, be paid in relation to different periods of time. For example, temporary pandemic pay could be payable for hours worked from March 15 to 31, and June 1 to July 4 while the BC Housing Safe Staffing pay could be payable for hours worked from April 1 to April 30.
As the pay periods overlapped, during March 15 until July 4th, 2020, your Employer was obligated to add the calculations of the Covid premium pay before receiving any funds from the Government for the pandemic pay.
There were also a few members inquiring as to why union dues were deducted from the pandemic pay. As per Article 10.6 of the BCGEU constitution, the triennial convention sets the dues rate for members. Currently, that rate is 1.85% of gross pay. This applies to all wages, including overtime, settlements and other forms of pay that are non-pensionable.
The Union has been fighting hard for pandemic pay across the board, and, in some cases, has been successful in achieving this for members. As we have many certifications across the province, there are several different pandemic pay arrangements, and to date, union dues have been deducted from all of them.
We referred this specific issue to our finance committee, which in turn recommended to our provincial executive to keep our practice consistent. The reasoning behind this decision was to keep consistent with the constitution and our convention resolutions, to ensure equity and uniformity in our practice across all those bargaining units receiving pandemic pay, and in recognition that this pay was achieved by the Union expending resources to fight for it.
Finally, union dues are a taxable benefit, as per Box 44 of your tax return.
If you have any further questions, please reach out to one of your Shop Stewards.
Component 17 Vice-President
Download PDF of notice here
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