'We want workers to be able to perform their duties with complete peace of mind and to receive the appropriate remuneration'
Quebec has announced the establishment of an $890-million incentive program for roughly 600,000 low-income earners working full- or part-time in the essential services during the pandemic.
"Since the crisis began, we have adopted significant measures to support the Quebec economy and ensure that Quebecers receive essential services,” says Eric Girard, minister of finance. "Through this program, we are supporting low-income workers who are providing essential services during the pandemic."
Through the program, low-income workers will receive a $1,600, four-month benefit to be paid at $100 per week retroactive to March 15. Workers will receive the taxable incentive in addition to their wages to ensure that they receive a wage that exceeds what the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) would provide.
Eligible workers are those who: work in a sector declared essential during the period covered; earn a gross salary of $550 a week or less; and have annual employment earnings of at least $5,000 and total annual income of $28,600 or less, calculated before the benefit.
Workers can apply for the temporary benefit starting May 19 and it will be paid by direct deposit starting May 27.
"The health and safety of essential workers is our priority during this period of general mobilization. We want them to be able to perform their duties with complete peace of mind and to receive the appropriate remuneration,” says Jean Boulet, minister of labour, employment and social solidarity.
Quebec has also made the following programs since the start of the pandemic:
- A $150-million investment for the Aide d'urgence aux petites et moyennes entreprises program.
- A temporary hourly increase of $4 to the wages of orderlies in the private sector.
- The introduction of the Programme d'aide temporaire aux travailleurs (PATT) and the Programme d'action concertée pour les entreprises (PACTE).
- The accelerated payment to businesses of tax credits.
- A 25-per-cent reduction in 2020 in the amount of mandatory withdrawals from a registered retirement income fund (RRIF).
- The postponement until June 30 for businesses of QST payments, without interest or penalties.
The Canadian government recently announced details around the 75 per cent wage subsidy, which is a part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan that would support businesses that are hardest hit by the pandemic.
One in five employers are rewarding front-line workers, according to a survey.