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Premium pay – COVID-19 update, May 25 - BCGEU

Pandemic pay announcement

In mid-April the federal government announced it was working with the provinces on a cost-shared, temporary "pandemic pay" program to top up the wages of select essential frontline workers. Your union worked to have the provincial government ensure that B.C.'s program would cover the broadest possible group of BCGEU members working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The details of the program were announced last week and most members in Component 4 are eligible to receive pandemic pay. Here is what we know about the program based on the announcement:

  • The program will provide a lump-sum payment calculated at $4 per straight-time hour covering a 16-week period retroactive to March 15, 2020.
  • Eligible workers must have worked straight-time hours during the 16-week period covered by the program.
  • There is no minimum threshold on hours, so casual and on-call hours are eligible.
  • Eligible workers will receive the payment directly from their employer and do not need to apply.
  • Government will be working with your employer on details of the disbursement, which are still being worked out.

When asked, our union said that this program needed to be as broad as possible and include all frontline essential workers. Our union pushed hard to make sure the government took a broad approach to this program. As a result of that work, tens of thousands of BCGEU members like you will be covered including those providing care to our province's most vulnerable citizens in direct government, health services, and social services positions. But, as you know, thousands more members are not eligible for the program right now, including some in our own component, so our work is not done.

Again, please note that you will not need to apply as you will receive a lump sum for this pay from your employer.

You are working hard to on the frontlines of this crisis and deserve to be recognized for your dedication and service in such a challenging time. Thank you for all you do and let's continue to support each other as we move through this together. 

In solidarity,

Mahen Ramdharry
Vice President, Health Services Component
(Component 4)