After weeks of campaigning for higher pay for home support workers, joint letters to government with the BC Government and Service Employees Union, and nearly 6,000 signatures of support for the work these health care workers do, we are pleased to share that the provincial government has announced a pay boost for Community Health Home Support and Community Social Services workers.
Finance Minister Carole James announced today that these essential front line workers will be receiving a pay boost of around $4 per hour for 16 weeks. The pay boost is retroactive to March 15 and is available to Health Care Assistants, Community Health Workers, Patient Care Support Workers, and Social Services workers, in addition to other front line workers. Eligible workers do not need to apply to receive the pay boost.
“Our frontline workers are providing vital support to people who are most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. The pay boost “recognizes all that our health and social service workers do to help keep people healthy, our communities running, and deliver important care and services to the most vulnerable during this challenging time.”
The measure was created after the federal government announced a $4 billion deal with the provinces to top up pay for essential front line workers. The measure is intended to help these workers stay on the job so that those needing additional in-home support and social services can continue to receive professional care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re thrilled that Home Support and Social Services workers will be getting the pay recognition they deserve,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “These workers are critical and under-recognized part of our health care system – they’ve played a pivotal role in this crisis by helping the elderly and vulnerable stay in their homes, reducing the strain on hospitals and long-term care homes. At the same time, those who work in Social Services have provided essential support to those in need through COVID-19 and we are very pleased to see that hard work being recognized by government.”
UFCW 1518 has been pushing for higher wages for Community Health Home Support and Social Services workers at the bargaining table since long before the COVID-19 pandemic. These workers have been providing an essential and professional service for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. The increase in compensation reflects the hard work Community Health workers do today and every day, not just during COVID-19. The Union will continue to fight for pay rises for Community Health Home Support and Social Service workers.
For information on financial and mental health supports available during COVID-19, check out our COVID-19 Resource Page