On May 7, 2021, the Government of Manitoba announced that it would be launching the Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program. The program will provide eligible employers with up to $600 per eligible employee for up to five full days of COVID-19 related sick leave.
The government has indicated that the purpose of this assistance is to fill the current gaps that exist between the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the COVID-19 related public health emergency leave provisions in The Employment Standards Code (Manitoba).
The Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave (the “Pandemic Leave”) will allow eligible employees to take time off for COVID-19 related testing, vaccinations and side effects, self-isolation, or to care for a loved one impacted by the virus. For these purposes, eligible employees are entitled to up to five days of paid leave, which do not have to be taken consecutively, to a combined total maximum of $600.
Eligible employees are those who reside in and work and receive wages in Manitoba on a full or part-time basis. Individuals who are not eligible include those who are self-employed, including persons employed by a personal services corporation, employees who work from home and employees who have exhausted employer provided paid sick leave benefits.
The province has indicated that any employer from the private, non-profit and charitable sectors who employs eligible employees will qualify for the assistance, whether the employer is located in Manitoba or within another jurisdiction, provided that the employer does not already provide paid sick leave to their employees. For instance, employers who currently have a paid sick leave policy in place or who are party to a collective agreement or other agreement that includes paid sick leave benefits will not be eligible for the program.
The program provides support for Pandemic Leave taken between May 7, 2021 until at least September 25, 2021. Employers can begin applying for the program starting May 14, 2021.
Access more information about the Program here.
Following Ontario, Manitoba’s is the second provincial program of its kind to offer paid sick leave for employees. Other provinces, including Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, have implemented partial day paid vaccination leaves, for instance, and Yukon offers a rebate for employers who provide their employees with paid sick leave related to COVID-19.
MLT Aikins will continue to monitor the situation. Employers considering how the Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program applies to their business should contact a member of our labour and employment team in Winnipeg.