WestJet tells employees their pay will be cut by half due to wage subsidy changes

WestJet Airlines Ltd. is warning workers receiving the federal wage subsidy they will see their pay cut by up to 53 per cent starting Sunday.

A company memo sent to WestJetters on Wednesday states that the maximum weekly payment for employees on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will drop to $400 per week, down from $847.

In the message, vice-president Mark Porter attributes the change to the federal government aligning a newly extended wage subsidy with employment insurance, which is expanding as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit expires on Sept. 27.

Read more: Canadian airlines cancel hundreds of flights as hopes fade for spike in demand

WestJet flight attendants are calling on the government to clarify when and how much money will arrive in company coffers via the federal subsidy in order determine whether wages can return to current levels.

Story continues below advertisement

Wear masks on WestJet or face year-long no-fly restriction

Wear masks on WestJet or face year-long no-fly restriction

Chris Rauenbusch, who represents about 4,000 WestJet flight attendants with the Canadian Union of Public Employees — nearly two-thirds of whom benefit from the subsidy — says the airline cannot float worker wages until the federal government specifies the amounts payable to WestJet and “fills in the blanks” around the program.

Rauenbusch says employees have called him in tears at the prospect of failing to make rent, and that the federal government has created a “frustrating” situation.

Read more: WestJet raises fees, warns of further travel decline after Nav Canada rate increase

The WestJet memo followed the Liberal government’s throne speech Wednesday night, which extended the wage subsidy into next summer.

WestJet spokeswoman Morgan Bell says the Calgary-based company is administering the program based on the details and guidance currently available.

Story continues below advertisement

The federal finance department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Throne speech: Payette touts coronavirus job creation, wage subsidy extension

Throne speech: Payette touts coronavirus job creation, wage subsidy extension

© 2020 The Canadian Press

View original article here Source