Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, has issued the following statement on paid sick leave for COVID-19:
“No worker should have to choose between going to work sick or losing pay to stay home. Effective May 20, workers can take up to three days of paid sick leave for circumstances related to COVID-19.
“This means that if a person is sick with COVID-19 or needs to self-isolate because of a public health order, has symptoms and is waiting for a test result, they are immediately supported to stay home from work without any gap in their paycheque, for up to three days. If a worker needs more sick time, our program provides a bridge to other benefit programs.
“We’re also supporting employers with a reimbursement program of up to $200 per day for each worker who is eligible for paid sick leave. WorkSafeBC is now setting up the reimbursement program to adminster on behalf of the Province. Once launched, employers can apply for reimbursement for wages paid for COVID-19 sick leave from May 20 until Dec. 31, 2021.
“We know that to move past this pandemic we need to reduce transmission in the workplace and encourage people to stay home when they are sick. This leave helps do just that.
“But the challenges faced by workers without paid sick leave will not end with the pandemic, and so we will be working over the next several months to develop a permanent paid sick leave program – for any illness or injury – to better protect B.C.’s workforce for the future. We will consult to develop the permanent model that will be fair and reasonable for everyone and will be effective on Jan. 1, 2022.
“Businesses know that a healthy workforce is their most valuable asset. We will find the balance that works for everyone, that protects and supports both employers and workers, following a consultation process that will begin over the summer months.
“It’s estimated that upwards of one million workers could benefit from paid sick leave, many of whom are women, immigrants or migrant workers. We want British Columbians to know their government has their back throughout this crisis – and together, we will get through this.”