The rules and issues around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and information changes consistently. Please take note of when our content was written and always go to the sources we’ve provided for the most current guidance.
If you’re a health, social service or corrections employee delivering in-person, front-line care during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for BC COVID-19 Temporary Pandemic Pay. Here are some eligibility and coverage details.
What support is provided?
If you’re an eligible front-line worker, you can expect to receive a lump-sum payment equivalent to about $4 per hour for straight-time hours worked any time over a 16-week period, starting on March 15, 2020.
If you worked 35 hours in a week, you can expect the calculation to look like this:
- 35hrs x $4 = $140 per week.
- Or, $2,240 for 16 weeks (provided your hours remain consistent).
Keep in mind:
- This is not a wage increase.
- Because pandemic pay is distributed as lump-sum payments, you should not expect to see the funds on every paycheque.
- The timing and frequency of the lump-sum payments may vary from employer to employer.
- The payment doesn’t impact eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
To receive temporary pandemic pay, you must:
- Have been working straight-time hours at any point during the 16-week period starting on March 15, 2020.
- Straight-time hours are an employee’s normal hours. (This means overtime hours are not eligible.)
- Casual and on-call workers who have worked straight-time hours during this period are also eligible.
- Work in an eligible sector, workplace, and role, delivering in-person, front-line care in health, social services and corrections
- Provide additional support and relief to front-line workers by working in ways that directly serve vulnerable populations.
Excluded management staff, fee-for-service providers or employees on leave are not eligible.
This temporary pandemic pay is not dependent on whether there is a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace location.
Do I need to apply?
No application is required to receive temporary pandemic pay.
If you are eligible, the lump-sum payments will be delivered through your employer. Government provides the funds to employers who then distribute the funds to eligible employees.
What else to know:
- This lump-sum temporary pandemic pay is taxable.
- The pay will not affect your pension (because it is lump-sum). If you are not a member of the Municipal Pension Plan you should confirm with your employer
- It has no impact on the benefits that are paid to you by your employer.
- The payment only applies for straight-time hours worked within the 16-week period. Employees who weren’t in the workplace will not receive pandemic pay (i.e. vacation, authorized paid leave including sick leave).
- If you are part of a union, consult with your employer to determine whether dues will apply to this specific-lump sum payment. For some employees, union dues are a percentage of earnings, for others it’s a fixed rate.
Did you like this? You might like these posts too!
- Wellness Together Canada: mental health resource spotlight
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit: what you need to know
- What else you should know about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- How to apply for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers
- COVID-19: how to request a grant under BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund
- How to apply for BC Housing’s BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program
- Under financial stress? Watch out for loans that ask for a fee upfront
Look through all of our COVID-19 related information on our website.
Where do we fit in?
Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.
About Consumer Protection BC:
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
28 thoughts on “COVID-19 Temporary Pandemic Pay”
What about the essential grocery workers that make minimum wage are they included to this hazard pay ?
Hi Karen, grocery workers are not included on the list a this time. However, as the situation is constantly changing, I would recommend referring to the list of eligible sectors, workplaces and roles for the latest information.
Are Child Care Workers included?
Hi Karen, please see the list of eligible sectors, workplaces and roles for the latest information.
Where is the 2500 minimum monthly for essential services workers. I believe the federal government transferred funds for this purpose
Hi Linda, I’m not sure if that has been confirmed yet. I would recommend looking to the list of eligible sectors, workplaces and roles for the latest information for BC.
Does self employed cleaners get this ? Cleaning commercial .
Hi Helen, I would suggest emailing PSEC@gov.bc.ca to confirm. There’s an “essential non-clinical staff” category that cleaners may fall under.
I work at Kamloops addictions clinic. I work with patients with whom do not bathe. Do not wash their hands, are violent and abusive. The government gave these patients the cerb money and now they are even more abusive as they spent all their cerb money on more and more drugs.
Because we are considered a privately funded clinic…we as admistrators do not qualify. Although the government counts on us to take care of the drug problem in Kamloops for them. There are NO government addiction clinics in Kamloops. Who can I contact about this?
Hi Dawn, thank you for posting your question here. I think the best person to talk to in this case, may be your local MLA in your area. If you are not sure who your MLA is in your area, you can search on this website: https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members I hope you will be able to have a conversation with them.
Just to update the thread above. I tried to contact our MLA , premieres office and the BC gov website. Its been over a month and none of these mentioned had the decency to write me a response. So disapointed in our officials. Truly believe when the second covid wave hits…us essential workers should strike and refuse to put our health at risk for the benefit of others.
Hi Dawn, I’m so sorry to hear that you haven’t heard back from any of them. Thank you for keeping us in the loop though, and hope that they will respond or take your concerns into considerations.
The government promised us this $4 hr lump sum payment ages ago and yet the time frame – 16 weeks – has passed and as a health care worker, I still have rec’d nothing. My employer says they do not know when it will be distributed. WHY make an announcement and not follow through????
Hi Joy, we are just sharing information from the BC government site but sorry to hear that you have not received your payment. The website does state that you need to contact your employer with any questions (which you have) so you may just have to give it some more time. Hopefully, the wait is not too much longer and thank you for all you do.
I work at a hospital in Vancouver for one of the health authorities. There are so many conflicting guesses and rumours on when we will be getting our lump sum payment(s) – this is up to the employer on how many there are. Some people say 10 July, some say 29 Aug. I don’t think anyone really knows until your employer announces something or you see an increase in your bank account.
It’s quite an expected situation put on payroll dept’s, which is understanding, but I feel our employers should have the decency to relay some sort of information as to when they will be paying it out or acknowledge that they are at least working on it. I’ve heard nothing from mine.
How do they define excluded management, do they mean excluded from a Union or excluded as in upper management? I am a Program Coordinator in the social services sector who has been mandated to work from site during the pandemic. I deal with the same risk as the rest of our staff but have heard that I likely won’t get pandemic pay. Which means that I will have been making significantly less than the rest of my staff during the pandemic.
Program Coordinators are eligible for pandemic pay but I am also excluded management (in that I don’t belong to the union) so I am confused about whether or not I’m eligible.
I have called and emailed multiple times and have received no clarification. I have asked my employer and they have no answers either.
Hi Katherine, we wish we had more information on this but our post simply shares information from the BC government site and we do not administer the Pandemic Pay. They seem to be encouraging people to talk to their employers which you have done already but perhaps try talking to someone in the payroll or HR department. We’re sorry we don’t have much more information for you.
Will this pandemic pay be extended like cerb and other benefits have been?
Hi Patricia, thank you for posting your question. Unfortunately, we do not administer any of the support benefits so we are unsure if the Pandemic Pay would be extended. You may have to keep an eye out for the latest update from the government.
Hi, I have a question. Lets say I fall under eligible workplace and roles but my employer said pandemic pay was not an option because we have access to PPE, i work in janitorial in health facilities listed, can they do this??? As it makes no sense to me as I have a friend who works in one of the buildings I clean who receives hazard pay, and I’m also friends with a housekeeper who works at a hospital who is also getting hazard.
Hello and thanks for posting your question. Since we do not administer the Pandemic Pay, we are not able to determine your eligibility. The BC government site states to ask your employer if you have any questions but perhaps you could try the email listed there. The link to the page is here. I hope you will be able to get some clarifications.
When do you think the pandemic pay will come through? VCH tells me they don’t know…..?
Hi Shannon, unfortunately, this is something we don’t know either. We are simply sharing the information from the government and we do not administer this benefit. Sorry we can’t be more helpful. The BC government site states to ask your employer if you have any questions but perhaps you could try the email listed there. The link to the page is here. I hope you will be able to get some clarifications.
Hi, I am an RCA in a private facility but with beds thst are publicly funded. I went for self isolation twice as I got exposed in our facility that has Covid 19 case, so, does it mean I am not getting the Pandemic pay at all? Or the rest of my hours within the 16 weeks period be calculated excluding my 1 month isolation? Thank you.
Hi Maria, thank you for contacting us. We don’t administer this program so unfortunately, I wouldn’t know if you are eligible for the pay. The BC government site states to ask your employer if you have any questions so that’s probably the best place to start. You could also try emailing the contact on the government website. The link to the page is here. I hope you will be able to get some clarifications.
Well….this whole pandemic pay seems to be a big joke. Province mandated employees of assisted and long term care be paid a ‘one site wage’ back in March. We were given a $2 raise which did not give us the pay level the gov’t was mandating. Now, my employer has said the gov’t told them to deduct that $2 and only give us $2 hr for the 16 weeks. Like I said, a big joke and my employer is laughing all the way to the bank.
On the website, it says that employers may not reimburse themselves for an independent decision to provide a wage increase, prior to May 7, 2020. My place of employment provided all residential front line staff with a $2.00/hour temporary wage increase. We have recently received notice that we will be receiving pandemic pay. However, it was said that because we received the temporary wage increase from the agency, we will be receiving an additional $2/hour rather than $4/hour top up. Ineligible employees are said to be also be receiving a cut of the funds, which I’m going to assume belongs to the eligible staff who have received a temporary wage increase from the agency. Is this legal and/or ethical?
Hi Aj, thank you for leaving us a comment here. Since this is a government directed program and we don’t oversee how it’s administered, we are not able to provide you with support. You could try emailing the contact on the government website. The link to the page is here. I hope you will be able to get some clarifications.