Home Care Update

It has been brought to the NSGEU’s attention that government is taking measures to try and ensure home care workers are not financially penalized during the COVID-19 crisis. Government has directed all home care agencies to pay workers for any cancelled hours that they are not able to replace within that day.

Examples of instances include, but are not limited to:

  • Employees arriving at a home where a client does not let them in because of a fear of contracting COVID-19
  • Employees who call ahead to a client and have the hours cancelled by the client over the phone
  • Instances where, in an effort to prioritize clients receiving services, the employer has cancelled scheduled hours
  • Other scheduled hours cancelled by the employer as a result of COVID-19
  • Employees directed to self-isolate for 14 days in the following circumstances:
    • those who returned from travel outside of Canada on or after March 13, 2020
    • those who returned from travel outside of Nova Scotia on or after 6:00 am March 23, 2020.
    • are identified as a close contact of a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. For clarity, this does not include an employee working with a COVID- 19 client where the employee has used the appropriate PPE to prevent transmission of the virus.

The NSGEU welcomes this news, as we understand the vital role home care plays within our health care system. We need to ensure our home care workers are protected and supported during this difficult time.

On that note, government also clarified with employers that home care workers who feel unwell, are identified as a person with COVID-19, or have been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting results and are unable to work, should be compensated under sick leave policies in accordance with your collective agreement provisions related to sick leave.

They have directed agencies that healthy home care workers who live in New Brunswick and regularly travel into Nova Scotia to deliver home care are exempt from the self-isolation requirement when crossing the provincial border. This exemption is restricted to travel for the purpose of work.

Furthermore, they have requested the agencies be as flexible as possible while employees work on securing alternative child-care arrangements. They noted that many employers are allowing their employees to access earned time banks, emergency leave, and family leave provisions. When these banks are exhausted, many have been placing employees on unpaid leaves of absence. The NSGEU goes not agree with this policy: given the current circumstances, the NSGEU does not believe members should be required to use their banked time for childcare.

If you have questions or concerns about these measures, please contact us by calling 902-424-4063 (toll-free 1-877-556-7438) or emailing inquiry@nsgeu.ca.

Thank you for the work that you are doing for all Nova Scotians during this difficult time.

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