COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave
Last updated: May 11, 2021
Workers will soon have access to a paid sick leave program that will support workers to stay home when they are sick during the pandemic and afterwards, including permanent paid sick leave, as a result of legislation tabled on Tuesday, May 11, 2021.
To better support workers during the pandemic, amendments to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) will bring three days of paid sick leave due to circumstances relating to COVID-19, such as having symptoms, self-isolating and waiting for a test result.
The legislation will also create a permanent paid sick leave for workers who cannot work due to any illness or injury beginning Jan. 1, 2022. The number of paid sick days and other supports will be determined following consultations with the business community, labour organizations, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders.
See the B.C. Government press release for full details.
Short-Term Paid Sick Leave
The short-term paid sick leave will bridge the gap for workers between when they first feel sick and when they can access the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
Employers will be required to pay workers their full wages, and the Province will reimburse employers without an existing sick leave program, up to $200 per day for each worker, to cover costs. This program will be in place until December 31, 2021.
Information for Workers
Workers can take up to three paid sick days if they need to stay home due to COVID-19. A doctor’s note is not required to take a COVID-19 sick day.
The paid sick leave is available for workers with reasons such as:
- Having been diagnosed with COVID-19
- Waiting for COVID-19 test results
- Needing to self-isolate or self-monitor
- Following a public health order
- Being directed to stay at home by your employer because of exposure risks
Under this program, workers will get paid their full wage.
This benefit will be available to workers covered under the Employment Standards Act who do not already have a paid sick leave benefits plan and both full-time and part-time workers are eligible.
Additional information will be available once the legislation becomes law.
Information for Employers
Employers are required to offer employees up to three days of paid sick leave, and pay their regular wages, if they need to stay at home as a result of circumstances related to COVID-19.
This benefit will be available to workers covered under the Employment Standards Act who do not already have a paid sick leave benefits plan, and additional information will be available once the legislation becomes law.
If a workplace does not have an existing sick leave program, the Province will reimburse employers up to $200 a day. For the small percentage of employers that have a highly paid workforce, but do not already have paid sick leave, those employers will be required to cover any remaining wages owed above $200 for each COVID-19 sick day taken.
WorkSafeBC will be administering the reimbursement program on behalf of the Province. The program is not part of the workers’ compensation system and will not impact WorkSafeBC’s employer premiums or its accident fund.
Details on the reimbursement program and how to register will be available in June.