“The government needs to be encouraging social distancing, not making it a financial penalty for reporting to work as an essential worker.” — Bob Bymoen, SGEU President.
Regina (20 May 2020) — The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE) is calling on the provincial government to cover regular salary in regards to employees who have been directed to self-isolate by the employer.
Workers forced to drain sick bank now have no days to use when actually sick
“We all now know the importance of lowering risk by self-isolating if there’s a chance you’ve been exposed to COVID-19” said Bob Bymoen, SGEU President. “The financial burden on employees who keep our communities safe should not fall on the workers who are deemed essential and have to report to work.”
Bymoen noted that many employees have a limited number of sick days to utilize when they are sick and should not have to use them because they are directed to go home by the employer. Being forced to use two weeks’ worth of these days for precautionary self-isolation means some will have no sick days to use during future illnesses and others will lose income if they don’t have enough days to cover their two-week isolation.
Province-wide standard needed to protect workers
SGEU has raised the issue with the provincial government, but there still has been no resolve to this issue across the public service. What is needed is a province-wide standard that ensures employees are not being penalized for doing the right thing and staying home.
“Workers are being hit twice,” said Bymoen. “Essential workers have to put themselves and their families at risk to do their jobs, often working longer hours with no top up or bonus pandemic pay. Then, when they are sent home for safety reasons, they risk losing their income. It’s simply not fair. The government needs to be encouraging social distancing, not making it a financial penalty for reporting to work as an essential worker.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE