Saskatchewan finance minister mulls unpaid days off for workers

Government also considering rolling back wages, layoffs to balance budget
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 02/21/2017
Government staffing
Saskatchewan's Minister of Finance Kevin Doherty in Ottawa on Dec. 21, 2015. REUTERS/Blair Gable

REGINA (CP) — Saskatchewan Finance Minister Kevin Doherty says having public servants take unpaid days off could save the province $11 million per day.

Doherty says that's one of the options the government is looking at as it grapples with a $1.2-billion deficit.

The government has also talked about possibly rolling back wages and layoffs to try to balance the budget, which is scheduled to be tabled March 22.

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour president Larry Hubich says forcing someone who works an eight-hour day to take one day off a month is equivalent to a wage cut of five per cent and a 7.5 per cent cut for people who work 12-hour days.

Manitoba is also looking at unpaid days off as an option to help tackle its $1.2- billion deficit.

In 1993, former Ontario premier Bob Rae's government forced public-sector workers to take unpaid days off, but the so-called ``Rae Days'' were hugely unpopular and the NDP was soundly defeated in the next election.

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