We know that you have all been working hard to keep Saskatchewan’s health care system running. Thank you for all the hard work you do.
We are preparing for our annual general meeting that will be held on an electronic platform this year as we have to deal with the gathering limitations that COVID has brought us. We look forward to seeing delegates there.
We will also be holding our elections for the provincial positions through electronic voting this fall. Please visit the website to register to vote. There is also some information about how it will work.
Return to School
One of the things that we know must be on your minds as we head into fall is the return to school. This impacts us all, whether it is our children, our grandchildren, or other loved ones who are returning to school. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) struck a committee to work on how this may impact health care workers, and they created some documents – a question and answer document and a scenario document – both of which can be found here.
The huddle talk that references the documents indicates that the SHA has been having ongoing communications with the unions. While they have communicated with us, they did not implement any of the suggested changes we made to the question and answer or scenario documents.
Here is what we would like you to know in addition to the return to school messaging from the SHA:
- Anywhere it suggests that you discuss the situation with your supervisor/manager or director, you can also reach out to your union. If you have any questions, you can contact your union.
- All accommodations should involve the union. You have the right to representation, and the employer has an obligation to let the union know about the possible accommodation, even if you do not reach out to us.
- You can contact the union if you test positive to get help with income replacement questions that you have (WCB, pandemic pay, sick leave, etc.).
- If your child’s school closes due to an outbreak in (an)other class(es), and you have no alternate childcare arrangements and require an accommodation, you should contact your union. You may also be eligible for the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefits, which provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for Canadians who are unable to work because of school closures and other COVID related childcare issues. Check here for more information.
We have talked about the AIMS program, where health care employers, including the SHA, are investing $167 million to align the many different computer programs that were used prior to the amalgamation to one single health authority.
In order to make this work, they need to have all health care employees on the same averaging period. This means that the averaging period will have to be moved for some workers.
This was done in some of the other union jurisdictions in late 2019/early 2020. CUPE members in affected regions will see the realignment on September 27, 2020.
If you are affected, you should have received information from the employer and been invited to participate in a WebEx information session.
No employee will suffer a loss of pay or benefits as a result of the realignment of averaging periods, and any disputes or issues arising will be resolved in a timely manner.
Temporary Wage Supplement
We have learned that the government has paid out less than half of the money they received from the federal government to temporarily supplement workers’ wages, which you can read about here.
We recently requested a meeting with someone from the Ministry of Finance through our regular briefings with the Ministry of Health and SHA contacts. We noted that we wanted to discuss the fact that more than half of the money hasn’t been used as it was intended and also to discuss members who have had difficulty accessing the supplement, and now members who are being asked to repay the benefit.
It has been many months that health care workers in Saskatchewan have been cohorted.
We continue discussions with the SHA on what will happen when the state of emergency is lifted and the temporary letter of understanding is finished. Remember that letter of understanding dealt with redeployment, labour pools, and cohorting.
Cohorting is also covered by the public health orders, so we are reaching out to the public health office and the chief public health officer for answers and to provide our members’ experience with cohorting.
- Main office: 306-546-2185