The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the City of Lacombe to temporarily layoff 50 of their non-essential staff.
Fifty employees make up nearly one third of their workforce, which roughly has around 160 employees at any given time.
“It certainly affects people but we were left with very little choice at this time. We have made every effort to ensure the proper supports are in place from the provincial and federal governments,” Mayor Grant Creasey said.
CAO Matthew Goudy said the employees affected are those who worked in city services that are not currently being accessed due to provincial and federal regulations.
“Our lifeguards, our event staff, our booking agents, some of our customer services representatives, as well as other workers who are providing non-essential functions within the municipality have been given temporary lay-off notices,” he said.
Goudy said non-essential does not mean not valued by the City of Lacombe.
“It means continuing work at this time is difficult due to the closures and the risk there is to our staff and the public,” he said.
Creasey said it is unclear whether further layoffs will be required at this time and stressed these layoffs do not affect critical municipal infrastructure.
Since these layoffs are deemed temporary, they fall under a different set of guidelines than a usual end of employment contract.
“We are hopeful to get the staff affected back to work, providing services that are needed in the community right away. We certainly need to see demand for those services before we reengage the employees affected,” he said.
Goudy said the City of Lacombe feels for the employees impacted by this decision, along with every citizen and business in Lacombe affected by the pandemic.
“We are all in this together and anytime we have to use these measures it is hard. We are looking forward to returning to more normal and predictable times where we can get these staff members back,” he said.
Creasey thanked the community of Lacombe for following public health guidelines during the pandemic.
“I am very pleased with the cooperation we have seen with people following the provincial guidelines of self-isolating and physical distancing. We certainly hope that continues so we can come to successful conclusion to this crisis,” he said.