Posts Tagged "workers"

21May

COVID-19 sick pay: Workers in B.C. can soon apply for reimbursement for time off

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Workers who need to take time off for COVID-19 moving forward will soon be able to apply for wage reimbursement under B.C.’s sick-pay program.

The reimbursement program, which was announced earlier this month, will be applicable for time off taken between May 20 and Dec. 31, 2021.

“No worker should have to choose between going to work sick or losing pay to stay home. Effective May 20, workers can take up to three days of paid sick leave for circumstances related to COVID-19,” Harry Bains, B.C.’s labour minister, said in a news release Friday.

“This means that if a person is sick with COVID-19 or needs to self-isolate because of a public health order, has symptoms and is waiting for a test result, they are immediately supported to stay home from work without any gap in their paycheque, for up to three days.”

WorkSafeBC will administer that reimbursement on behalf of the province. The organization is currently in the process of setting up their system, but applications dating back to May 20 will be accepted once it launches.

Employers will be required to pay workers their full wages and the province will reimburse employers who don’t currently have a sick-leave program up to $200 per day to cover those costs.

“We know that to move past this pandemic we need to reduce transmission in the workplace and encourage people to stay home when they are sick. This leave helps do just that,” Bains said.

When the program was announced, the province said it was meant to “bridge the gap” for workers between when they first feel sick and when they can access the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit. 

The federal benefit only kicks in when an employee works less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work week. The benefit gives $500 for a one-week period, and individuals must apply for renewal each week for a maximum of four weeks.

People who have already applied for the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, short-term disability or EI aren’t eligible for the federal program.

After the pandemic, B.C.’s legislation will create a permanent paid sick leave option for workers who can’t work because of any illness or injury, starting on Jan. 1, 2022. The number of paid sick days under that program will be determined after consultation with the business community, labour organizations and Indigenous partners. 

11May

COVID-19 sick pay: B.C. giving all workers up to 3 days of leave

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Workers in B.C. will soon be able to take three days of paid time off if they’re sick during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to new legislation tabled Tuesday.

The paid sick leave is available for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, who is self-isolating because of COVID-19 or who is waiting for a test result. Employers will be required to pay workers their full wages and the province will reimburse employers who don’t currently have a sick-leave program up to $200 per day to cover those costs. WorkSafeBC will administer that reimbursement on behalf of the province.

CTVNewsVancouver.ca is streaming a news conference with Premier John Horgan LIVE @ 11:15 a.m.

“The best way to protect workers, their families and co-workers during this pandemic is to have a paid sick leave program in place,” said Premier John Horgan in a news release.

“Our made-in-B.C. program will help cover the costs for hard-hit businesses so we can all get through this pandemic together and move to a strong economic recovery.”

The province says the COVID-related sick pay program is meant to “bridge the gap” for workers between when the first feel sick and when they can access the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.

That benefit only kicks in when an employee works less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work week. The benefit gives $500 for a one-week period, and individuals must apply for renewal each week for a maximum of four weeks.

People who have already applied for the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, short-term disability or EI aren’t eligible.

Early on in the pandemic, widespread outbreaks in food processing facilities were blamed on workers facing financial pressure to come in sick because they wouldn’t be paid to stay home.

Since then, there have been countless instances of COVID-19 transmission in workplaces. More than 100 businesses in the Lower Mainland have been forced to temporarily close since the beginning of April because of on-site transmission that infected three or more people – though the government has not provided any details about how many of those incidents may have started because someone went to work while symptomatic.

After the pandemic, the legislation will create a permanent paid sick leave option for workers who can’t work because of any illness or injury, starting on Jan. 1, 2022. The number of paid sick days under that program will be determined after consultation with the business community, labour organizations and Indigenous partners. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Andrew Weichel and Bhinder Sajan 

1May

Province receives over 16,000 applications for Emergency Benefit for Workers in 1st hour | CBC News

by admin

B.C. is now accepting applications for its Emergency Benefit for Workers, which provides a one-time, tax free payment of $1,000 to those whose work has been affected by COVID-19.

Minister of Finance Carole James announced the opening Friday morning in Victoria.

“For people who’ve been let go of their jobs or trying to get by on reduced hours, we know the pandemic has been weighing heavy on you and your families,” said James.

“This will provide significant help for people whose jobs and incomes have been impacted by COVID-19.”

She says B.C. received more than 16,000 applications in the first hour after opening online.

The benefit was announced March 23 as part of the province’s $5-billion economic action plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the benefit isn’t universally available. 

“It’s at least tens of thousands — probably hundreds of thousand who aren’t getting it who could potentially use it,” said Rob Gillezeau, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Victoria.

Students and people who are on disability or income assistance aren’t eligible, he pointed out. Nor are those who were unemployed before the COVID-19 crisis began.

“The group I’m most worried about, low income seniors, they are not really getting any targeted benefit from anyone,” Gillezeau said.

He applauded the province for rolling out the benefit quickly, but said if the crisis drags on, he hopes B.C. will consider providing more assistance to those who have fallen through the cracks.

How to apply

The province says the easiest way to apply is through its online portal. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • have been a resident of B.C. on March 15, 2020;

  • meet the eligibility requirements for the CERB;

  • have been approved for the CERB;

  • be at least 15 years old on the date of application’

  • have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return;

  • not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca.  

1May

16,389 people signed up for the B.C. workers’ benefit in the first 45 minutes. Here’s how you can apply.

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Applications for B.C.’s emergency benefit during the novel coronavirus pandemic are now open.

The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers is a one-time $1,000 payment available to residents whose work has been impacted during the COVID-19 crisis. 

At about 8:30 a.m., the online applications opened to the public. During a live briefing Friday morning, Finance Minister Carole James said 16,389 people had applied for the benefit in the first 45 minutes the application was open, which is about 364 per minute on average.

“For people who have been let go of their jobs or who are trying to get by working on reduced hours, we know the pandemic is weighing heavily on you and your family,” she said.

“We all know that many British Columbians have lost their jobs or had their ability to work severely affected by COVID-19. It’s made it harder and harder for people to make ends meet, to be able to pay their bills.”

Announced last month, the benefit is available to those who have also been approved for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Applicants must also be at least 15 years of age and have been a resident on March 15. They also must have filed or agree to file a 2019 B.C. income tax return. Individuals receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance aren’t eligible.

James explained the province is using CERB as a requirement to keep the application process quick and simple for applicants.

“We wanted to keep the application process as straight forward as possible,” she said. “It really was making sure we can get the money out to people as quickly as possible because we know they need it now.”

While a link was added to the province’s website on Friday, those who would rather apply over the phone can do so on Monday.  

Watch an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government’s YouTube page.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Kendra Mangione

23Apr

B.C. workers, here’s how and when to apply to get $1,000 from the province

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Workers impacted by COVID-19 in British Columbia will be able to apply for $1,000 from the province as of next Friday.

The benefit was announced last month, but at the time, it was not known when the application would be available.

On Thursday, the province announced those who qualify can apply starting May 1.

To be eligible for the one-time payment, the province said, workers must:

  • have been a resident of British Columbia on March 15;
  • meet the eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit;
  • have been approved for the CERB;
  • be at least 15 years old as of the date of application;
  • have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return; and
  • not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance.

In a statement regarding the benefit, Finance Minister Carole James said the payment is meant for those worried about making ends meet.

“During these uncertain times, we want to get through this together by helping displaced workers support themselves and their families.

The ministry said the payment is tax-free, and that most people eligible for the CERB will be able to get the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers as well.

A link to apply online will be added to this page of the province’s website on May 1, while those who’d prefer to apply over the phone can do so starting the following Monday.

Anyone with questions can call 1-855-955-3545, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The province says payments will start to be sent within days of the application, though it warned there may be delays if there’s a surge in applications at the beginning.

11Mar

Better protections needed for health-care workers during COVID-19: advocates

by admin

Canada’s first death from the novel coronavirus has highlighted the urgent and often ignored need for better staffing at long-term care facilities where elderly residents are especially vulnerable to the disease, says the head of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

Linda Silas said the need has become “top of mind” following the death on Sunday of a man in his 80s at a care home in North Vancouver, where another patient has contracted COVID-19. One of four care aides who contracted the illness there is in hospital and two relatives of another are also been sick.

Discussions about preparedness were focused on emergency rooms, critical care and public health units, she said.

“A week ago we were talking about ‘Is the acute-care sector ready?’” Silas said. “Everyone’s now talking about, ‘What about long-term care?’ ”

More infections of health-care workers leading to 14 days of quarantine would mean greater staff shortages that could leave frail patients, who often have chronic illnesses, at higher risk, Silas said, adding staffing levels are already affected by outbreaks of seasonal influenza.

“When it hits a long-term care facility, it’s always more of a crisis than if it hits even your community or hospital. We’ve always known it’s a fragile population with any kind of illness and this is one of those where we have to pay particular attention,” she said of COVID-19.

Silas said the federation has recommended 4.5 hours of care by registered and licensed practical nurses a day, for each resident in long-term care facilities in Canada.

The actual level of nursing is about three hours, with some provinces, including Ontario and New Brunswick, among the worst as few nurses choose to work in long-term care jobs, she said.

As well, there are shortages of care aides, also called personal support workers, which adds more stress to a challenging work environment, said Silas.

“The working conditions are very difficult. You’re working short all the time, you’re never guaranteed registered nurses and often your only option is to send your patient to the hospital when often it’s not what they need and what’s best for them,” she said.

“And your personal care workers are not often permanent employees. They work casual or part time and they work in different facilities so there’s always a turnover.”

Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, said less than 50 per cent of staff in long-term care homes work in just one facility and support workers are also employed in multiple facilities.

“Some of them work in three places,” she said, adding a government directive during the SARS crisis in 2003 required nurses to work in only one facility to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said after announcing the death this week that an infected care aide from the same facility is believed to have worked at two other facilities.

“We know that whether it’s care workers or nurses, even physicians, we work in many different health authorities, many different facilities sometimes. That is part of the ongoing investigation at the Lynn Valley care home, to find out exactly where everybody worked and make sure that the other facilities are investigated.”

Silas said a big concern is the lack of employment insurance sick leave benefits for some support workers compared with nurses.

Business and other labour groups have urged the federal government to ease access to such benefits, which the government appears open to doing, along with tax credits and other breaks as part of the federal response.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has said the government was looking at taking some steps to help affected workers and the health-care system.

Jennifer Whiteside, spokeswoman for the Hospital Employees’ Union, said care aides in British Columbia work in a “fragmented” system, with some in part-time and casual jobs at various facilities run by either private contractors or health authorities.

Sick leave benefits may be as few as five to seven sick days a year versus 18 days offered by health authorities, Whiteside said, adding aides having to go into quarantine could face financial hardship because of their lower pay levels.

“Their sick leave will be wiped out. They won’t even have enough to cover one period of self (quarantine) should that become necessary and certainly not enough to cover them should they actually become sick ),” she said.

“If a large number get sick then we’ll be having some challenges. There’s no question that a situation like this does really bring into sharp relief some of the challenges we have in the system around how we manage the care-aide labour force.”

Isobel Mackenzie, advocate for seniors in British Columbia, said the job of care aides has long been undervalued and the novel coronavirus may create awareness about the need for change.

“I think what this is going to highlight, and this is a conversation for after we’ve dealt with the crisis, is the different ways in which these care homes are staffed. We need all licensed care homes to be doing things exactly the same under the direction of the officer of the public health officer,” she said.

“How are we going to deal with the fact that some people are going to get paid while they’re off sick and some people aren’t? How are we going to handle the fact that they are working potentially for multiple employers?”

The issue of care aides who travel to various private homes must also be considered for the safety of the wider community, Mackenzie said.

“That’s where we’re going to have to be ever vigilant around monitoring and managing the situation,” she said. “(They) may be providing (seniors) with their medications that they absolutely need and if we don’t go there they aren’t going to get their medications.”

18Dec

Talks between striking forestry workers’ union, employer break down again | CBC News

by admin

Western Forest Products says another round of negotiations with the union representing workers in a months-long coastal B.C. strike has ended without a resolution.

The company says talks with the United Steelworkers union broke off after they “reached an impasse” on Tuesday. A brief statement did not say which issues were sticking points, but did say no future mediation dates have been scheduled.

The strike began on July 1. The action affects about 3,000 coastal forest workers employed in Western Forest Products sawmills and timberlands operations in the province.

The union says it’s on strike over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability benefits.

A previous round of negotiations fell apart at the end of November. At the time, Western Forest Products’ CEO said the mediators informed the company talks were over after it presented a contract offer.

Demens said the company offered a five-year agreement with a $2,000 signing bonus and wage increases of two per cent per year for the first four years and 2.5 per cent in the fifth year.

He said the company also agreed to drop proposals to modernize agreements, as well as pension plan alternatives opposed by the union, but didn’t go along with the union’s demands for a shorter-term agreement, bigger wage hikes and less shift flexibility.

6Dec

Cost of three-year deal with bus and Seabus workers won’t affect TransLink expansion plans

by admin


Transit workers from Unifor Locals 111 and 2200 vote whether to ratify a contract agreement with Coast Mountain Bus Company.


Jason Payne / PNG

The cost of the new three-year deal with TransLink’s bus company employees, which will add at least $3 an hour to wages for 5,000 workers, won’t derail transit expansion, according to the agency.

“We can’t cost out the deal,” until after negotiations are completed with 900 workers from another union for SkyTrain workers, spokeswoman Jill Drews said Friday.

But she said, “Expansion plans will not be affected. The deal that was negotiated is within our ability to pay. There’s no fear of that (affecting expansion) anymore.”

Workers at TransLink’s Coast Mountain Bus Company voted more than 83 per cent in favour of the deal on Thursday, reached in negotiations between the company and Unifor just before the union planned to begin a full-scale strike.

Unifor had been seeking a 15.2 per cent increase over four years for bus drivers and 16.7 per cent compounded over four years for maintenance workers. Coast Mountain had been offering 12.2 per cent for skilled trades over four years and 9.6 per cent for transit operators over the same period. The company had said Unifor’s would have cost more than $600 million over the 10 years and that kind of deal would jeopardize transit system expansion plans.

“It’s fair to say it’s below that” $600 million,” Drews said., adding the deal is “somewhere in the middle” between the initial demands.

Related

Drews said the cost for the bus company will be made public after negotiations are completed with Canadian Union of Public Employees in a separate set of contract talks for 900 employees, including station attendants and maintenance workers of TransLink’s B.C. Rapid Transit Company.

The strike by the Coast Mountain workers began Nov. 1 with a uniform ban by transit operators and an overtime ban by maintenance workers, which reduced SeaBus sailings.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias said in a news release that the deal with Unifor Locals 111 and 2200  included “historic gains” for wages, benefits and working conditions.

Unifor said the deal reduced the “wage gap with Toronto’s transit operators,” brought the wages for Coast Mountain’s skilled trades workers more in line with the about $3 more an hour paid to SkyTrain’s skilled trades workers, set out “guaranteed minimum rest and recovery allowances of 45 minutes” and better washroom breaks and facilities.

The salary range for drivers before the settlement was $24.46 to $32.61 an hour after 24 months. After four years, with a two per cent raise retroactive to April 1, one per cent on ratification, and three per cent a year thereafter, the range would rise to $27.49 to $35.64 an hour.

Coast Mountain’s skilled-trades workers received a two per cent retroactive pay to April 1 and an additional $1.95 an hour increase, followed by two per cent raises in future years of the contract.

12Jul

Forestry workers reject mediator after asking for help: union

by admin

VANCOUVER – The union representing as many as 3,000 British Columbia forest industry workers on strike at Western Forest Products says now that it’s willing to work with a mediator, the company has rejected the plan.

The strike began July 1 and involves the firm’s timberland operators and contractors and affects all of its manufacturing and timberland operations in the province.

Western Forest Products said after the strike began that it applied for a mediator in June to help with negotiations, but the union had not agreed to meet.

United Steelworkers local president Brian Butler says in a news release that they are ready to negotiate and well-known mediator Vince Ready has agreed to make himself available this weekend for talks.

Butler says the company’s refusal to use someone as qualified as Ready indicates it’s not serious about reaching an agreement.

A spokesperson from Western Forests Products wasn’t immediately available for comment on the union’s claims.

The B.C. Federation of Labour issued a so-called hot edict on the company earlier this week, asking its members to no longer handle Western Forests Products coastal lumber, logs and wood products.

The union says it’s on strike over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability.


Source link

12Jul

Mediator rejected after forestry workers asked for help: union

by admin

The Canadian Press


Published Friday, July 12, 2019 1:17PM PDT


Last Updated Friday, July 12, 2019 3:52PM PDT

VANCOUVER – The union representing as many as 3,000 British Columbia forest industry workers on strike at Western Forest Products says now that it’s willing to work with a mediator, the company has rejected the plan.

The strike began July 1 and involves the firm’s timberland operators and contractors and affects all of its manufacturing and timberland operations in the province.

Western Forest Products said after the strike began that it applied for a mediator in June to help with negotiations, but the union had not agreed to meet.

United Steelworkers local president Brian Butler says in a news release that they are ready to negotiate and well-known mediator Vince Ready has agreed to make himself available this weekend for talks.

Butler says the company’s refusal to use someone as qualified as Ready indicates it’s not serious about reaching an agreement.

A spokesperson from Western Forests Products wasn’t immediately available for comment on the union’s claims.

The B.C. Federation of Labour issued a so-called hot edict on the company earlier this week, asking its members to no longer handle Western Forests Products coastal lumber, logs and wood products.

The union says it’s on strike over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability.


Source link

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.