BC releases plans for permanent sick leave program

Labor Minister Harry Bains says the five paid days are reasonable and were set after a consultation period that generated 60,000 responses.

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VICTORIA – Workers in British Columbia will be entitled to a minimum of five paid sick days per year from January.

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The new sickness absence policy enters into force on 1 January and affects all workers covered by the province’s employment standards law.

Labor Minister Harry Bains says the five paid days are reasonable and were set after a consultation period that generated 60,000 responses.

Bains says the government heard from some who suggested that three paid days was an appropriate amount, while others wanted 10 days or more.

The government says more than a million workers in BC have not paid sick leave, and most of them work in low-paid jobs.

In May, the province gave all workers up to three days of paid sick leave for those affected by COVID-19 until 31 December.

Bains says the pandemic showed that when workers have not paid sick leave, many end up going to work, harming colleagues and employers.

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