REGINA – SGEU is calling for Premier Moe to bring in a wage top-up program for all of Saskatchewan’s 40,000 health care workers, by making immediate use of the almost $50 million available in the federal government's essential workers wage top-up program.
“Right now, health care workers are going above and beyond,” said SGEU health providers bargaining unit chair Tracey Sauer. “Health care workers have an added workload due to restrictive PPE that must be frequently changed. They follow enhanced rigorous control procedures to protect their patients, clients, and residents. They are doing their utmost to prevent the spread of the virus while caring for COVID-19 positive patients and those in high-risk scenarios. The government’s arbitrary wage top-up program has left too many behind. It’s time for everyone to get the compensation they deserve.”
Starting in April 2020, the provincial government ran a wage top-up program that has at various points covered workers in long-term care and those who support vulnerable people, workers at some integrated health facilities, and home care workers.
Workers at acute care facilities such as hospitals have never been eligible for a wage top-up, although they face greatly increased risks and directly treat COVID-19 patients.
The nearly $50 million in available federal funding amounts to over $1,000 per health care worker in Saskatchewan, more than enough to run a full program of wage top-ups.
“Our members come home exhausted with raw red hands and faces from constant hand washing and mask wearing. Many face added costs while trying to keep their families safe,” said SGEU secretary-treasurer Roseann Strelezki. “The Premier keeps thanking health care workers, but thanks will not pay for childcare or put food on the table. Many of our members have been cohorted to single worksites. Some workers are denied work while others are denied leaves. This has increased workloads, fatigue, and stress, as well as increased financial and family hardship. It’s time for fairness for frontline workers.”
For more information or media inquiries, please contact:
Amy Huziak, Communications Officer