May 14, 2020
Workers should not be penalized for self-isolation, says SGEU
REGINA – SGEU is calling on the Government of Saskatchewan to cover regular salary in regards to employees who have been directed to self-isolate by the employer.
“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, president of SGEU. “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.
SGEU has raised the issue with the Government of Saskatchewan, 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.”
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