Those risking their lives to keep the rest of us safe are getting the big bonus they deserve. Frontline workers in B.C. are now going to get pandemic pay as thanks for all their hard work. Best of all, if they're eligible for the money then they don't need to apply because it will get delivered through their employer.
In a release dated Tuesday, May 19, B.C. said workers giving "in-person, front-line care during the COVID-19 pandemic" are eligible for a whole load of extra cash for work dating back to mid-March.
There are over 250,000 eligible employees in the province who could get an extra $4 an hour for the 16-week period starting March 15. So, if you worked 35 hours every week, for example, you'll get $2,240.
"Eligible workers will receive the payment directly through their employer and do not need to apply," according to their statement. Exactly when and how frequently the payments come in also depends on the employer.
To get this money, the employee must have clocked in straight-time hours at any point during the 16 week period and be employed in certain jobs under health services, social services, or corrections. They must also have helped in ways that "directly serve vulnerable populations," according to the release.
Casual or on-call employees that worked straight-time hours are also able to get the money. However, "excluded management staff, fee-for-service providers or employees on leave are not eligible," reads their release.
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For a full list of the sectors, workplaces, and positions eligible for the pay, check out their website.
B.C. says this isn't a permanent wage increase and that it'll get paid out in one lump sum — you won't be seeing the increase on your regular paycheques, for example.
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While the money won't affect whether you'll get employment insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, it is taxable.
Finally, since the payments only apply to straight-time hours worked over the period, time spent on vacation, sick leave, or paid leave won't count.
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"People at the front lines of the pandemic are working tirelessly to keep us and our loved ones healthy," said B.C. finance minister Carole James in the release.
The program will help thousands of workers, she said. And for all they've been through to keep us safe, they have earned it and so much more.