City Will Try to Minimize Impact on Furloughed Employees

With the City of Guelph closing several of its facilities out of an abundance of concern for the spread of COVID-19, one of the big questions needing an answer is what what’s going to happen for all the non-salaried employees? The lifeguards at City pools? The concession stand vendors at the Sleeman Centre? The ticket agents at River Run? Well, they may be stuck like everyone else.

“We’re working to support all employees who help us deliver City programs and services,” said Stacey Hare from Corporate Communications at the City of Guelph in an email. “Part-time employees who are asked to self-isolate, or those who fall ill due to COVID-19 will have access to short-term disability benefits.”

According to Hare, there are about 800 part-time employees at the City of Guelph who are affected by the closures and cancellations. Hare said that some employees may be able to still work in City buildings that remain open.

“If they can’t do their regular work because of closures or cancellations, we will offer the same number of hours and wages and assign them to other work in different parts of the organization,” Hare explained. “For example, they may be asked to help clean or provide support for the City services we continue to offer.”

Hare added that every precaution is being taken to protect the health and safety of City employees, but if a part-time employee chooses not to work, then they will not get paid. This is a conundrum for a lot of people in Ontario right now, but the Province has their eye to at least helping people who have had no choice but to stay at home because of COVID-19.

In an announcement on Monday, the Provincial government said that they are acting quickly to protect workers affected by COVID-19, and that they’re introducing legislation that will give leave to workers in isolation, and help with childcare for those that still have to work.

“While everyone’s concerns about their health and safety is top of mind, the last thing we need is anyone worrying about job security as the COVID-19 situation evolves,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement. “That’s why I directed the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development to draft legislation that will protect workers and their families during this difficult period.”

According to the government media release, their legislation will provide job protection for employees unable to work because they’re in quarantine, getting medical treatment, or if they’ve been directed not to work by their employer. The legislation also covers employees that have to miss work because they have to take care of under-aged kids because both schools and daycares are shut down. The protections will be retroactive to January 25 when the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Ontario.

“These job protections could also contribute significantly to limiting the spread of COVID-19,” added Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. “We are giving everyone the tools they need to put their health and the health of others first, without fear of losing their jobs.”

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