Sept  23, 2021

VICTORIA, B.C. – In preparation for January’s paid sick leave legislation, the B.C. government wrapped up its public survey last week, launching into Phase Two of its engagement process with yesterday’s release of an Options Paper containing the proposed models of: 3, 5, or 10 days. Members of the WSN continue to emphasize that anything less than 10 days would be insufficient and lead to major impacts on the lives of workers.

81% of workers earning below $40k/year in B.C. are not protected by paid sick leave and have been denied this right for too long,” said Pamela Charron with the WSN. “How B.C. safeguards those who’ve been made vulnerable will demonstrate the priorities of this government now and into the future. Now that we are closer than ever before to seeing this through, workers deserve much more than a half-hearted 3 or 5 day option.”

89% of low-wage workers (primarily women and racialized workers employed by large corporations) do not have employer-paid sick leave. Concerns have been raised about the influence of corporate lobbying against employer-paid models, and in favour of limiting the number of paid sick days made available for minimum-wage employees.

“It should not be left up to any given employer in B.C. to decide what’s valid or necessary when addressing someone’s private emergencies or health matters,” said Anna Gerrard with the WSN. “These protections are simply a safety net and should be viewed as a universal right, not a benefit left open for debate, or at the discretion of corporate fat cats.”

The Worker Solidarity Network calls for 10 days (3 at the start of each calendar year and the remainder accrued according to number of hours worked) for all regardless of employment status, immigration status or workplace size. The WSN also emphasizes the need for seamless access (no medical notes, no disruption to income and no application processes) with an additional 10 days added as a precaution during public health emergencies.

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