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Local MLA Rob Anderson creates bill to shrink government severances

By: Sara Wilson

  |  Posted: Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 11:08 am

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Airdrie Wildrose MLA and Finance Critic Rob Anderson presented Bill 209 – The Severance and Bonus Limitation Statues Amendment Act – in the Alberta Legislature on Nov. 20 to curb what he’s calling “bloated severance packages.”

“Albertans are tired of watching the endless cycle of PC mismanagement and waste where health executives or PC government staffers are given golden handshakes or have contracts peppered with special perks and bonuses,” Anderson said. “Bill 209 will put an immediate end to this problem.”

Bill 209 comes after media scrutiny over the amount of Premier Alison Redford’s Chief of Staff Stephen Carter’s severance package after six months employment.

Originally, the amount was kept from the public, but after heavy media scrutiny and Freedom of Information requests were denied by the court, Carter released the amount.

“In respect for the premier’s demand for openness, the amount of my severance was $130,000,” Stephen Carter tweeted on Oct. 11.

According to Anderson, Bill 209, would cap severance packages and put limitations on bonuses for public sector executives, managers and all non-unionized employees.

Included in the proposed legislation are the following stipulations:

· No new severance packages shall ever exceed $100,000 in value, unless the individual has worked for more than five years in the same position in which case the severance shall not exceed $200,000.

·No employee may collect two government severances within a five-year period.

· No annual bonus or performance pay may be more than 15 per cent of an employee’s income in a given year.

·All bonuses over $2,000 must be based entirely on objective performance criteria outlined in advance by each ministry.

· All bonuses and severances must be made accessible upon public request under Alberta’s FOIP legislation.

“It’s insulting to taxpayers to watch the continuing parade of senior public officials collecting massive bonuses for simply showing up for work and even larger severance packages for simply leaving or being fired,” Anderson said. “For a government plagued with chronic wasteful spending, this legislation should be a no brainer to pass.”

Representative from the Alberta government did not respond as of press time.

According to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, “severance agreements often contain a ‘release’ that describes the end of the employer’s responsibility towards the employee. A valid release relieves an employer of their obligation or responsibility to an employee, as specified by the release. Normally an employee cannot make a human rights complaint simply because the employee has been asked to sign a severance agreement that contains a release. This is a common business practice.”


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