Starting January 2022, all B.C. employees covered by the BC Employment Standards Act (ESA) are entitled to a minimum of five days of sick leave paid by their employer.
British Columbia becomes the first province in Canada to legislate this level of paid leave for employees to stay home when sick or injured, without losing wages.
This five-day paid sick leave entitlement will be in addition to the existing three days of unpaid sick leave under Section 49.1 of the ESA.
Who does paid sick leave apply to?
All employees covered by the BC Employment Standards Act, including:
- Part-time workers
- Temporary workers
- Casual workers
Employees should have worked with an employer for at least 90 days to be eligible for the five-day paid sick leave.
Who is excluded from the paid sick leave under BC Employment Standards Act (ESA)?
- Federally regulated workplaces
- Independent contractors
- Employees in professions excluded from the ESA
Will employees have to provide a doctor’s note?
Employees can take time away from work without warning to deal with unexpected illnesses or life situations. They don’t need to give their employer advance notice. The employer is allowed to ask for reasonable proof of illness for which the leave is being availed.
What about the COVID-19 paid sick leave program?
In May 2021, the province gave all B.C. workers a temporary paid sick leave for up to three days of paid leave for COVID-19-related reasons. This program, which supported those affected by COVID-19, was available until December 31, 2021.
This was a temporary amendment to support businesses that did not already offer paid leave. The B.C. government was reimbursing employers up to $200 per day per sick employee. But if workers made more than $200 per day, the employer was to pay the difference.
Unlike the temporary COVID-19 paid sick leave program, the five-day paid sick leave is completely funded by the employer.
Read more at the B.C. government’s website.