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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Schools in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows exposed to COVID-19

Davie Jones and Hammond elementary schools have confirmed cases

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock near Webster’s Corners

Vanessa Barrett is competing to be the face of fitness for a health and bodybuilding magazine. (Vanessa Barrett/Special to the Maple Ridge News)
Ridge fitness champ aims to become face of magazine

Vanessa Barrett wants to add ‘Ms Fitness’ to her titles of entrepreneur and mom

A Nova Scotia court has overturned the conviction of a man with ties to Maple Ridge. (Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)
Conviction thrown out for supposed leader of Maple Ridge cannabis smuggling conspiracy

A Nova Scotia appeals court found there wasn’t enough evidence and quashed a four-year sentence

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

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

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read