B.C. begins consultation for permanent paid sick leave

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The province is inviting British Columbians to provide input on permanent paid sick leave.

“One of the most critical lessons from the pandemic was the importance of people staying home when they are sick, to contain the spread of an illness and keep workplaces productive,” said Harry Bains, minister of labour. “But many workers, especially those in lower-paying jobs without benefits, simply can’t afford to lose wages by missing work due to illness or personal injury.”                     

The province said a public consultation process is now open through the government’s website and the process will be in phases:

  • Phase 1 (Aug. 5 – Sept. 14) – surveys will gather information from employers and workers on the kinds of paid illness and injury leaves currently provided and how they are meeting workers’ needs
  • Phase 2 (Sept. 20 – Oct. 25) – options will be prepared for various paid sick leave models, including the numbers of paid days and other supports and will be posted for public feedback and input.

“No one should have to choose between going to work sick or losing wages,” Bains said. “Paid sick leave is good for businesses, good for workers and good for our communities. By supporting people and businesses, we will help B.C.’s economy recover faster.”

Amendments to the Employment Standards Act laid the groundwork for establishing minimum standards for a permanent paid sick leave entitlement in May this year.

According to the province, paid sick leave will come into effect Jan. 1 2022, once regulations are established using public feedback.

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