Workers in British Columbia are now eligible for five paid sick days. “This is a significant milestone for our province, and I’m proud that we are supporting workers and employers in this important way. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Harry Bains, Minister of Labour said on Dec. 30. (Photo: Chad Hipolito, The Canadian Press)

Workers in British Columbia are now eligible for five paid sick days. “This is a significant milestone for our province, and I’m proud that we are supporting workers and employers in this important way. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Harry Bains, Minister of Labour said on Dec. 30. (Photo: Chad Hipolito, The Canadian Press)

Paid sick leaves comes into effect in Prince Rupert

Unionized workplaces not included

Prince Rupert and B.C. workers are now entitled to five days of paid sick leave per year, effective Jan. 1.

The recent changes will now include the more than one million workers in the province who did not have access to paid sick leave. Most of those in low-wage jobs often being women or racialized workers, the Ministry of Labour stated in a media release.

All employees covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA), whether they are full-time, part-time, temporary or casual workers, are eligible for the benefit as long as they have worked at the organization for at least 90 days.

Employers must pay their employees regular wages for these days, however, may ask for reasonable proof of illness.

“Until now, about half of B.C. workers have been unable to stay home when sick without losing wages,” Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, said on Dec. 30. “Many of those are lower-paid workers who can least afford to lose the money and, as a result, end up going to work sick. Paid sick leave is the right thing to do, and it is now in British Columbia permanently.”

This new guarantee is in addition to the three days of unpaid sick leave provided by the ESA.

However, the ESA does not cover all types of employees including those in federally-regulated sectors, self-employed workers, independent contractors and employees or professions excluded from the ESA. For a full list of ESA exceptions click here.

The new program replaces the temporary COVID-19 paid sick leave program, which included up to three days of paid leave and included employer reimbursements. Employers have until Jan. 17 to submit any remaining requests for reimbursement through the temporary program.


Norman Galimski | Journalist
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