WINNIPEG — Health-care workers reassigned or redeployed to specific areas in Manitoba during the pandemic are set to get a new benefit.
On Thursday, the Province of Manitoba said it had reached an agreement with the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU) and will now compensate the staff that have been redeployed or reassigned to ‘priority areas’ during the pandemic.
According to the province, these priority areas include personal care homes, intensive care units and COVID-19 units across Manitoba.
It said the agreement would enable health-care employers to make changes to employees’ work assignments, locations, schedules, shift patterns, and hours. Any staff that are affected will receive an allowance each time their normal work schedule or location is disrupted with a reassignment or redeployment to these priority areas.
The province said the agreement gives an allowance to staff that are redeployed to the north. This includes travel reimbursement. The province said this also includes those working in the north who are reassigned or redeployed to additional shifts in the Northern health region.
“Health-care workers have been at the forefront of Manitoba’s response to the pandemic, showing unrelenting dedication and commitment to patients in hospital and in the community as well as those Manitobans living in personal care homes,” Manitoba’s Health Minister Cameron Friesen said in a news release.
“These agreements recognize the efforts and sacrifices of staff whose personal and professional lives may be disrupted by a change in their work that is made necessary by the demands of COVID-19.”
MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky said in the release the union is pleased they were able to reach an agreement that provides recognition to health-care workers who are caring for the most vulnerable population.
The province said training, skill level, location, and – where possible – seniority, will be taken into account when making any reassignments and redeployments.
“Staff will be assigned according to skillset and area of greatest need and are provided with appropriate training and orientation to their new work environment and team,” the province said in the release.
“They are also provided with the necessary personal protective equipment for the setting for which they work.”
The province said staff who are getting a wage top-up from the Caregiver Wage Support Program are not eligible to recieve the similar benefits in the new agreements.
The agreements are in place as long as the pandemic response continues, the province said.