B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)

VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains has presented a temporary sick pay program that would cover up to three days of absence for employees who do not have employer sick benefits.

The short-term program is designed to cover situations where employees have symptoms of coronavirus infection, are self-isolating or waiting for COVID-19 test results. It is to bridge the gap between when workers first feel sick and when they can have access to 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. The program will be available to full-time and part-time employees.

The province is moving to support employers on the cost of sick pay, Bains told the B.C. legislature Tuesday. The three-day program will continue until the end of 2021, and be followed by a permanent program to take effect at the start of 2022.

WorkSafeBC is setting up the employer reimbursement system, and is expected to administer it beginning in June. “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,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The reimbursement system is expected to be set up using existing information technology infrastructure within 30 days. At that point, employers will be asked to register with WorkSafeBC to enable reimbursement. The program is not a part of the workers’ compensation system and will not affect WorkSafeBC’s employer premiums or its accident fund.”

The proposed legislation would allow employers to ask for “reasonably sufficient proof, although no doctor’s note is required,” the ministry said.

“This new leave will better support workers during the pandemic, giving workers three days of paid leave for circumstances related to COVID-19,” Bains said May 11. “At the same time we know we need to support businesses that are already struggling due to the pandemic, so the province will be stepping up in a major way to support employers with the costs.”

Bains said the permanent program is to take effect Jan. 1, 2022, with the terms and length of coverage to be set by regulation after consultation with employers and workers.

RELATED: B.C. program similar to Ontario’s paid sick leave plan

RELATED: Returning travellers not eligible for federal sick leave


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

Hundreds gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Friday (June 11) in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on Sunday (June 6). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Educating public ‘exhausting,’ says White Rock Muslim Association past president

Asad Syed says public needs to be more vocal in their condemnation

The City of White Rock turns 63 today. (file photo)
City of White Rock 2020 annual report available for review

Report to be discussed at June 28 council meeting

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read