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Alberta’s ladies’s shelters are dealing with staffing shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic as staff within the female-dominated sector juggle their careers and private caregiving obligations, reveals a survey launched Wednesday.
Almost all home violence shelter employees in Alberta are ladies, considerably increased than different female-majority industries resembling well being care, training and hospitality, in line with the Alberta Council of Girls’s Shelters (ACWS) 2019-20 workforce survey. In consequence, many shelters have confronted staffing shortages as staff stability their skilled and private obligations.
To deal with these shortages, shelters have needed to increase their staffing swimming pools, introduce or increase on-call programs, change sick occasions and go away insurance policies to raised assist employees and shut down or droop packages.
ACWS government director Jan Reimer mentioned the affect the pandemic has had on ladies has been substantial.
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“We’ve seen that, not simply right here in our sector however actually world wide, how it’s ladies who’re in these caregiving roles and at work they’re those which are on the entrance traces and are essentially the most inclined to getting COVID,” she mentioned. “(They) even have all kinds of different caregiving obligations on high of that and given the gender wage hole, it signifies that disproportionately they’re actually carrying the load.”
In February 2020, the participation price for Alberta ladies 25 years and older within the workforce was 64.9 per cent, in line with Statistics Canada. In April 2020, the participation price dropped to 59.7 per cent, compared to 72.6 per cent for males 25 years and older. The participation price for girls elevated to 64.3 per cent in February 2021.
The survey additionally highlighted a few of the monetary challenges shelter employees face, together with making on common $27.53 an hour in comparison with $29.70 for the common Albertan. The wage was one of many predominant limitations shelters listed for recruiting new employees.
The survey contains a number of suggestions to enhance the state of affairs at shelters, together with enhancing funding for women-serving organizations, offering inexpensive childcare, selling gender equality with insurance policies and advantages, and standardizing monitoring of indicators on ladies’s financial well-being.
Reimer mentioned many shelters are dealing with monetary challenges because the pandemic has impacted fundraising efforts.
“Having a sturdy funding mannequin for girls’s shelters is admittedly vital as we transfer ahead,” she mentioned, acknowledging that each the federal and provincial governments have supplied further funding for COVID-19.
“Having extra flexibility round salaries and advantages when it comes to the funding mannequin could be extraordinarily useful. Reasonably priced childcare is admittedly vital to our employees, significantly as a result of they do have that wage hole.”