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Health and social services workers affiliated with the FSSS-CSN will obtain various retention and overtime bonuses if they ratify their sectoral agreement with Quebec.

  • Véronique Prince (View profile)Véronique Prince

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At the dawn of a reform of its health network, Quebec is pulling out the checkbook to keep its employees. Radio-Canada has obtained the details of the retention bonuses, those for evenings and weekends, as well as for overtime, agreed with the Federation of Health and Social Services affiliated with the CSN (FSSS-CSN), member of the Common Union Front.

While negotiations between the government and the nurses of the FIQ, who are not part of the Common Front, seem to have reached an impasse, the 120,000 members of the FSSS -CSN will decide on their sectoral agreement by February 20. They include respiratory therapists, nurses, beneficiary attendants, home care workers, housekeeping workers, administrative and social services staff as well as intervention agents.

Employees who work full time in critical care, i.e. user care, emergency or intensive care, will obtain a 15% bonus to their salary. The premium for those working part-time can be as high as 14%. Remember that these bonuses are in addition to the salary increases of 17.4% over five years obtained by the Common Front.

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We had to be on point in terms of salary and bonus increases to ensure that there were no cuts in services and that there was succession. The leitmotif of this whole negotiation is to save the public sector.

A quote from Réjean Leclerc, president of the FSSS-CSN

If members ratify the agreement, the hourly rate of a beneficiary attendant (PAB) who works in a CHSLD, in the evening, full time, will increase from $30.22 to $36.46. Those working nights will see their wages increase to $38.89 per hour, when salary increases and bonuses are taken into account.

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The Legault government has promised doctors more secretaries to relieve them of certain administrative tasks. Those in full-time emergency service will see their hourly rate increase from $26.24 to $32.54.

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The other key sector requiring catching up concerns employees in youth centers. DPJ intervention officers, who take care of young people at the time of a crisis and then monitor them, obtain a significant bonus. Their salary of $26 per hour rises to $35.35 per hour.

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Most of these bonuses already existed in the collective agreement, but are enhanced for the 2023-2028 collective agreement.

However, a new bonus of up to 5% is emerging for workers in continued assistance residences (RAC). These are those who care for people of any age with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder with a behavioral disorder.

There is recruitment which is difficult, but also the task itself. We want to attract staff in these environments and ensure retention, adds Réjean Leclerc.

The FSSS-CSN sectoral agreement also provides for bonuses for unfavorable shifts, as Quebec wanted. Full-time workers who accept evening shifts will receive a bonus of 10% of their salary. Those working part time will be entitled to 7%.

Workers who accept night shifts will obtain a bonus of 18% for those working full time and 14% for those working part-time.

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In the midst of a labor shortage, Quebec does not hide it: the government only needs workers from the network of health workers are working overtime.

An employee who works overtime on Saturday and Sunday in a CHSLD or hospital center will obtain a double rate of pay for his shift.

Moreover, such a shift can now be accumulated as leave.

Ministers of the Legault government and the Prime Minister himself have often insisted on the need for unions to demonstrate flexibility with collective agreements.

The Minister Christian Dubé is focusing in particular on local management of schedules to reduce the use of overtime. Employees could distribute work hours among themselves.

The FSSS-CSN agrees to introduce this method, but on a voluntary basis for teams of workers. The delegates recognize that it could also improve family-work-study balance, if workers indicate their preferences, while taking into account the needs of other team members. What was crucial for us was that it was voluntary, says Mr. Leclerc.

The union organization also agrees to put in place a process, over a few months, to recognize seniority for the staff of private agencies and for network workers who arrive from other establishments. She also plans to work on a plan to repatriate agency staff and independent workers.

Details will be presented first to the members, indicates Réjean Leclerc. There needs to be a certain stability despite flexibility. It will create team spirit, but also security. Patients cannot find themselves changing staff every day.

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