Sunday, September 28, 2003

Canada: Come in sick, win a prize

This is amazing. I surprised they didn't think of this in the U.S. first.
A Canadian health authority is offering workers a chance to win $300 Canadian if they don't call in sick for six months. Vancouver Coastal Health Authority is running the contest to cut staffing costs.

Public sector union CUPE has condemned the contest as 'absurd and dangerous' and 'only a small part of an unhealthy cost-cutting agenda.' The health authority is bent on reducing a $175 million budget deficit by cutting staffing costs. Any of the 27,000 employees of the authority is eligible to enter the raffle if they don't call in sick during the six months between September 15 and March 15.

Health care workers say encouraging sick people to go to work in hospitals, nursing homes and care facilities will inevitably put patients at risk. 'In light of the SARS episode and infectious disease experts predicting SARS will come back (Risks 102), it’s appalling that a health employer will encourage people to risk making other people sick,' said Deb Niemi, a nurse and union rep. She added that the authority should be addressing concerns raised by health care workers about stressful working conditions.
Source: Risks Issue no 125 - 27 September 2003