UPDATE ON TEMPORARY PANDEMIC PAY TO SUPPORT FRONT-LINE HEALTH CARE WORKERS

HEABC has announced that lump-sum pandemic payments will be considered remuneration for the purposes of the BC Employer Health Tax. This means that payments will be subject to the same payroll deductions as regular pay; they will not have any effect on benefits that employees are eligible to receive.

Update – Timing of Funding

The 16-week eligibility period for the temporary pandemic pay program ended on July 4, 2020. The Ministry of Health is working on a standardized funding process (across all the sectors) and further communication regarding the timing of funding is expected around mid-August. We ask for your patience while the Ministry of Health and employers’ associations communicate requirements for the pay to provincially funded service providers and employers. 

Background

On May 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that all provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost share wage top-ups for their essential workers. The Government of Canada committed to provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory is individually responsible for determining eligible workers within the available funding envelope.

On June 1, the provincial government announced details as to how health and social service workers delivering in-person, front-line care to some of B.C.’s most vulnerable people will receive a financial boost through temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay. 

More than 250,000 eligible front-line workers will receive temporary pandemic pay, a lump-sum payment of about $4 per hour for a 16-week period, starting on March 15, 2020 and ending July 4, 2020. To be eligible, employees must have worked straight-time hours anytime during the 16-week period starting March 15, 2020. It does not apply to excluded management staff, fee-for-service providers or employees on leave.

Eligible health care workplaces include: 

  • hospitals

  • long-term care and assisted-living facilities

  • provincial mental health facilities

  • provincially funded home and community care services

  • public health units

  • primary care clinics

  • diagnostic facilities

  • community clinics

  • diagnostic and treatment centres

Eligible workers will receive the payment directly through their employer and do not need to apply. For more information on the temporary pandemic pay program, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/pandemicpay.

This page last updated Jul 23, 2020 5:38pm PDT