The B.C. government is asking British Columbians to provide input in a survey about permanent paid sick leave.

Phase one of the consultation will include a survey asking questions about the kinds of paid illness and injury leaves currently provided, and how they are meeting workers’ needs. Phase One will be active from August 5th to September 14th.

In Phase two, options will be prepared for various paid sick leave models, including the numbers of paid days and other supports, and will be posted for public feedback and input. That will be from September 20th to October 25th.

“One of the most critical lessons from the pandemic was the importance of people staying home when they are sick, to contain the spread of an illness and keep workplaces productive,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour.

“But many workers, especially those in lower-paying jobs without benefits, simply can’t afford to lose wages by missing work due to illness or personal injury. That’s why we are creating a permanent paid sick leave entitlement, and we want to hear from the people who will be most affected.”

“No one should have to choose between going to work sick or losing wages,” Bains added. “Paid sick leave is good for businesses, good for workers and good for our communities. By supporting people and businesses, we will help B.C.’s economy recover faster.”

Provincial officials said changes to the Employment Standards Act laid the groundwork for establishing minimum standards for a permanent paid sick leave entitlement back in May 2021.

“Providing paid sick leave benefits to all B.C. employees will be a significant change for many businesses, especially smaller operations,” Tom Conway, chief executive officer, Small Business BC.

That’s why I’m encouraging all SBBC’s membership to participate in this consultation process. It’s important that government understands how it will affect businesses so the new requirements will be reasonable and practical.”

“TAPS has been calling for meaningful permanent paid sick leave for all B.C.’s workers for quite a while, especially during the pandemic, so we are thrilled to see the government move in this direction,” said Doug King, executive director, Together Against Poverty Society.

“We know there are countless stories of workers being required to work sick, and we ask all workers to take a few minutes to complete this survey to help ensure their voices are heard, and that B.C.’s most vulnerable workers get the protections and supports they really need, especially when they are sick or injured.”

After feedback is complete, new paid sick leave regulations will come into effect on January 1st, 2022.