Interior Health employees receive temporary pandemic pay promised in May

Pandemic pay finally arrives

Essential workers waiting on Temporary Pandemic Pay from the province have finally received the good news their bank accounts have waited on - more than four months after the initial announcement. 

In May, about 250,000 eligible frontline workers were promised a lump-sum payment of about $4 per hour for a 16-week period between March 15 and July 4. 

The program, cost-shared with the federal government, was announced by the B.C. government to support people working on the frontlines in the healthcare system, social services and corrections.

Months down the line, Interior Health employees started reaching out to Castanet to share their frustration, having not yet received any form of payment. 

"During this whole COVID experience staff throughout Interior Health have watched store employees get a boost in wage to show that store employees are appreciated," one employee told Castanet.

"We watched our PM promise up to $4 wage increase to front-line workers, hospital care home workers - a wage increase for 16 weeks, which still has never happened." 

In August, staff were told the money was coming "as quickly as possible," but were not given a specific date or timeline on when it would arrive. 

Now, the Ministry of Health has confirmed the Temporary Pandemic Pay was paid out to health authority staff, including eligible Interior Health employees, on Oct. 9, 2020. 

Staff working under the Community Social Services Employers' Association (CSSEA) will receive funding dependent on when the funding invoice is received by the Ministry of Finance, and the agencies themselves.

Community social services agencies have until Oct. 31 to submit claims for funding. 

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