Government Considering 10 Days Paid Sick Leave Per Year in Response to COVID-19

On May 25, 2020, the Federal Government announced that it is in discussions with provincial governments to provide employees 10 days of paid sick leave per year.

The intention behind providing this paid sick leave is to avoid having employees attend at work while ill.

As of May 26, 2020, the premiers of Manitoba, British Columbia and the Yukon have signed a statement pledging their support for the 10-day paid sick leave.

Currently, paid sick leave rules vary across provinces and employers. Provincially-regulated employers are not required to provide paid sick leave in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta or British Columbia. However, employers may voluntarily provide paid sick leave to employees. Federally-regulated employers in these provinces must provide, at minimum, three paid personal days per year, which may be taken for illness or injury, to employees who have been employed for three consecutive months. Employees without paid sick leave benefits may qualify for Federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits.

It is unclear whether the Federal and/or provincial governments will fund any legislated paid sick leave, or whether the costs of providing paid sick leave will be the responsibility of employers.

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating challenges for employers. Our Labour and Employment team is closely monitoring this evolving situation and continues to assist employers in these novel times.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.