Alberta nurses

A taxpayers group is demanding the Alberta government reign in some of the “golden benefits” given to provincial nurses.

“Not only are Alberta’s government nurses receiving big salaries compared to their counterparts in other provinces, they’re also receiving golden benefits that must be scaled back,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, in a statement Wednesday.

“Premier Jason Kenney needs to pull Albertans out of the $70-billion debt hole and reining in these golden benefits is the perfect place to start.”

The CTF said they found freedom of information documents that showed some nurses getting double pensions, unfair overtime pay and top-up bonuses.

“In addition to receiving a defined benefit pension plan, which is described as “quite generous” by the pension plan, UNA nurses are also receiving matching RRSP or TFSA contributions from taxpayers up to two per cent of a nurse’s earnings. The second pension could add more than $1,850 every year to the compensation of top registered nurses,” said the CTF statement.

The CTF claims: “Part-time nurses have specific days-off built into their schedules, known as Designated Days of Rest. Any hours worked on those days trigger double-time pay, even if the part-time nurse hasn’t worked full-time hours. This policy has cost taxpayers more than $77 million since 2014 and increased the salaries of recipient nurses by about $4,000 on average in 2018.

“Full-time UNA nurses receive additional lump sum payments of $1,750 every year. The estimated cost of these lump sum payments for full-time nurses is about $20 million every year (based on 43 per cent of Alberta nurses being full-time and number of AHS UNA nursing positions).”

Terrazzano said Alberta’s maximum hourly salary rates are higher than those in every other province, except for one type of position in Ontario.

““Most Albertans would be laughed out of the room if we approached our boss demanding these types of benefits,” said Terrazzano. “It’s not fair to make struggling taxpayers continue to pay for golden benefits on-top of high Alberta government salaries.”

The United Nurses of Alberta said they would be commenting later in the day.

Dave Naylor is News Editor for the Western Standard

Twitter: Nobby7694

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News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief

Dave Naylor is News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Calgary Headquarters. He served as City Editor of the Calgary Sun & covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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