FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has made amendments to the federally funded essential worker wage top-up program. The program now includes private sector home care support workers and early learning and childcare enhanced support workers who provide direct client care.

“This program sets out to help frontline workers who are providing personal care to our vulnerable population,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “These workers are vital to our COVID-19 recovery and I thank them for their contributions.”

Private sector home care support workers who provided direct, in-home personal care to clients of the Department of Social Development during the period from March 19 to July 9 will be eligible to receive the benefit. The amount of the benefit is dependent on the number of hours provided to the client during the identified timeframe: $500 for hours at or above 30 hours a per week; $250 for hours of at least 20 but less than 30 per week; and $100 for hours of at least 10 but less than 20 per week. The benefit will be distributed through the client who received the service to the private sector home care or family support worker.

Enhanced support workers working in early learning and childcare centres will receive monthly payments over 16 weeks of $500 a month and the first and last payments will be split to align with existing payment schedules. They will receive their top-up retroactive to May 19 and it will continue for 16 weeks. This is in recognition of their return to work when the child care sector reopened. Employers will be reimbursed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

“It is important to our government to constantly review our policies and procedures for best practices,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard. “We have done that in this case and are pleased to be partnering with our federal colleagues to amend and expand this program. I am confident that the funds will be helpful to many workers who provide essential support to clients of the Department of Social Development.”

The following essential workers have already been eligible to receive wage top-ups through this program:

  • early childhood educators in early learning and childcare facilities;
  • home support workers providing direct in-person care to seniors, adults and children;
  • direct person care in group homes, community residences, special care homes, homeless shelters and transition houses;
  • domestic violence intervention workers; and
  • food bank and soup kitchen workers.

“We know the early childhood education sector has always played an important role in supporting our economy and positioning New Brunswickers for lifelong learning and success,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “Over the past year, workers in this sector have truly demonstrated their dedication and significant value and I thank educators and enhanced support workers for their ongoing commitment to young learners.”

More information about the updated wage top-up is available online.