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CSSEA - COVID-19 Temporary Pandemic Pay – update - BCGEU

As you are aware, the federal and provincial governments have worked together to provide front line workers with access to COVID-19 Temporary Pandemic Pay. For further information on this temporary program, go here. There is ongoing uncertainty about how the provincial government intends to apply this pay across all of the workers in the community social services (CSS) sector.
At present, we understand that it is government's position that to be eligible for pandemic pay, a worker must:

  • Have been working straight-time hours at any point during the 16-week period starting on March 15, 2020, at the height of the province's response to the pandemic; casual, on-call, and part-time workers who have worked straight-time hours during this period are also eligible
  • Work in an eligible sector, workplace and role delivering in-person, front line care
  • Provide additional support and relief to front line workers by working in ways that directly serve vulnerable populations.

Most employees in the CSS sector are eligible for pandemic pay provided that they:

  • are covered by one of the three CSS sectoral collective agreements (Community Living, General Services, or Indigenous Services)
  • work in bargaining unit equivalent (BUE)
  • worked straight-time hours at any point during the 16-week period starting March 15th; workers on leaves of absences, whether paid or unpaid, are not eligible for pandemic pay during the period of leave; for workers who work primarily remotely, it is unclear as to eligibility and employers are advised to check with their funder(s) 

Government has indicated that the following workers are not eligible for pandemic pay:

  • excluded management staff or fee for service providers
  • employees working in a child care program
  • employees working in a Non-Provincially Funded (NPF) program
  • employees receiving equivalent compensation as part of BC Housing's Safe Staffing Strategy 

Please see our prior advocacy for pandemic pay for all workers in this sector (see previous bulletins here):

In addition, your bargaining association, led by the BCGEU, wrote to B.C. Finance Minister Carole James on May 27 to request a broader application of pandemic pay to ensure all workers in the community social services sector are eligible. You can see that letter here.
Our union just launched a campaign today encouraging members to send an email to their MLA and MP telling them that all frontline workers deserve pandemic pay. Check out the campaign here.

We will continue to advocate on behalf of all workers in the community social services sector to obtain equal application of pandemic pay to all workers providing or supporting the provision of these vital services to vulnerable children and adults in British Columbia.

In solidarity,
Andrea Duncan, Component 3 Vice-President