BC will be the first province in Canada to provide workers with paid sick leave when changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) take effect on January 1, 2022.
In the new year, eligible employees can take up to 5 days of paid sick leave each year, in addition to the 3 days of unpaid leave that is already provided by the ESA. More than 600,000 people—a combination of workers and employers—participated in the Province's engagement consultations regarding the introduction of paid sick.
“Many of the people who lack paid sick leave are the same workers we depended on most during the pandemic,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “Lower-wage workers who help us get our groceries, prepare our food at restaurants and make sure we have the services we need deserve a basic protection like paid sick leave.”
Full-time, part-time, temporary, and casual employees will be entitled to paid sick leave, so long as they have worked for their employer for at least 90 days; how much each employee is paid will depend on their schedule and the average wages received in the previous 30 days of employment. Employees not covered under the ESA (e.g., self-employed workers, independent contractors, etc.) are not eligible.
The BC Hotel Association (BCHA) recently distributed a special edition industry update to its members, providing answers to some common questions relating to the upcoming changes—these FAQs can be viewed on the BCHA website.