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Province of British Columbia
UPDATE
For Immediate Release
2021LBR0030-001831
Sept. 22, 2021
Ministry of Labour
Options for B.C.’s permanent paid sick leave available for comment

VICTORIA – British Columbians are invited to have their say on three proposed options for permanent paid sick leave shaped by their responses to the first phase of consultation.

“Over the past several weeks, thousands of workers and employers have completed surveys to give us valuable information on their current sick-leave benefits, if any, and what is needed,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “Informed by those surveys, we are inviting British Columbians to once again have their say.”

Between Aug. 5 and Sept. 14, 2021, more than 26,000 surveys were completed by workers and employers. Feedback from the online surveys and the options paper will help create a made-in-B.C. permanent paid personal illness and injury leave that will be fair, balanced and reasonable for everyone.

“One of the most critical lessons from the pandemic has been the importance of people staying home when they are sick,” Bains said. “No one should have to choose between going to work sick or losing wages. Paid sick leave is good for businesses, good for workers and good for our communities. We’re asking for input on the next step toward making paid sick leave a permanent reality for British Columbia.”

The options paper has been posted on government’s engagement site and is available for comment until Oct. 25. Three options have been developed that cover the minimum number of days: three, five and 10 days of paid sick leave. To leave a comment on the engagement site, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/paidsickleave/

In May 2021, amendments to the Employment Standards Act laid the groundwork for establishing minimum standards for permanent paid sick leave. Following the public engagement process, paid sick leave will be established through regulation and come into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Quick Facts:

  • The May 2021 amendments to the Employment Standards Act also created a temporary COVID-19 paid sick leave program for up to three days of leave, until Dec. 31, 2021. To support businesses that do not already provide paid sick leave, government is reimbursing employers up to $200 per day per worker, to help cover their employees’ wages for the COVID-19 paid sick leave.
  • An estimated 50% of B.C. employees do not have access to paid sick leave. This means more than one million workers in B.C. will benefit from receiving new paid sick leave.
  • Many vulnerable and low-wage workers – often women or racialized workers – lack benefits, so the ability to take paid leave will be especially important to them. 

Learn More:

To view the paid sick-leave options and participate in the consultation process, or learn about the consultation process, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/paidsickleave/

For more information on B.C.’s employment standards, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards

A backgrounder follows.

 
Contact:
 
Ministry of Labour
Media Relations
250 213-8637
 

 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER
For Immediate Release
2021LBR0030-001831
Sept. 22, 2021
Ministry of Labour
Survey responses

The public responses that informed the paid sick leave options were derived from the first phase of public consultation.

This consisted of surveys to gather information from employers and workers. Surveys were available from Aug. 5 to Sept. 14, 2021, in English, Chinese, Punjabi, Korean and Tagalog.

Highlights from the survey responses:

  • Many employees without access to paid sick leave reported regularly going to work sick or returning to work before fully recovering.
  • Employers and employees both reported concerns about employees coming to work sick and infecting others.
  • Approximately one-half of employees in British Columbia do not have employer-paid sick days, and those employees are more likely to be in lower-paid jobs.
  • Approximately 60% of employers do not offer employer-paid sick leave to any of their employees.
  • Of the employers that offer paid sick leave to their employees:
    • close to 45% provide three to five days per year;
    • about 25% provide six to 10 days;
    • about 20% provide more than 10 days; and
    • close to 10% provide less than three days,
  • Of those who have access to employer-paid sick leave, about 70% indicated they typically do not use all of the paid sick days they get each year.
 
Contact:
 
Ministry of Labour
Media Relations
250 213-8637
 

 
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