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“All it would do is shift the money from benefits to pension with no increase to the taxpayer,” he said.
Kelly Miner is the CEO of the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organization, which represents the employers at the bargaining table.
She stressed SAHO would not comment publicly on ongoing bargaining but suggested “in a global way” that reallocating contributions could have broader effects since those funds span multiple bargaining units.
“When you’re dealing with pension and benefits issues, they’re quite complex. These are intermingled plans where the majority of health care workers in the health care field are involved in these plans,” she said.
Edwards said his unit is paying more than their fair share for the benefits they receive.
“Why would one employee pay for another’s benefits? It just makes no sense,” he said.
The union’s second request regards parental leave. In the old collective agreement, Edwards said the employer paid 75 per cent of an employee’s salary in the two-week waiting period before the Supplemental Employment Benefits Plan kicks in. Employees on maternity leave receive that top-up for 15 weeks, while those on parental or adoption leave receive it for 10 weeks.
The federal government has since reduced the waiting period to one week, and the union is asking the employer to cover an additional week to maintain the same length of time. Again, Edwards argued this comes at no cost, though Miner implied it’s not so simple.