MONTREAL -- Orderlies in Quebec say they would be better paid if they stayed at home and stopped caring for seniors in private residences.

This is in response to the federal government’s $2,000 emergency benefit plan to help those without an income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan, which was announced on Wednesday, gives the equivalent of about $500 a week in compensation.

Private care assistants (PCAs) for the elderly are currently paid $13 or $14 an hour, for a weekly salary of $455 to $490 -- less than the government's benefits package.

The Syndicat québécois des employées et employés de service (SQEES), affiliated with the FTQ, confirmed Thursday it has received a few calls from members who calculated the difference; some even asked if they would be eligible for the $2,000 government benefit if they resigned.

The union states some members did not bother mincing words, stating they would rather get more money to stay home, than continue putting their health at risk to care for the elderly.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2020.