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Independent businesses shocked they are on the hook for 10 paid sick-days in 2022

Nine out of 10 small businesses unhappy with the BC government for adding new costs at a time when businesses can least afford it

Vancouver, January 20, 2022 – On January 1st, 2022, the BC government mandated 5 days of employer-paid sick leave. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has recently learned that in fact this number is double the originally announced 5 days. In a survey conducted over the weekend, 86 per cent of small businesses were unaware of their obligation to potentially pay for 10 days of sick leave.

“Someone dropped the ball drafting the legislation, and now we want to know how the government plans to fix this,” said Annie Dormuth, BC provincial affairs director. “Businesses cannot afford new costs right now, and one of the most important things for governments to do is keeping costs down for struggling businesses. The BC government is talking the talk about supporting small businesses but not walking the walk when they turn around and wallop small businesses with additional new costs.”  

The government announced five 5 days of employer-paid sick days starting on January 1st, 2022. However, the legislation also entitles employees to 5 additional days at the start of an employee’s start date. According to the government’s website: “if an employee was hired on May 1, 2021, the employee is entitled to 5 paid sick days from January 1, 2022 (when the provision came into force) to April 30, 2022, and 5 paid sick days when they enter a new employment year, from May 1, 2022, to April 30, 2023.”
 
“In other words, many employees will be entitled to 10 days in 2022. To add insult to injury, the website is incredibly hard to understand and this policy is difficult to administer,” added Dormuth. “At the end of April, Premier Horgan promised employer-paid sick leave would not come at a time when small businesses could least afford it. This is not only a promise broken, but this latest development also feels sneaky as the government was not upfront that 5 days was actually 10.”

Recent survey, data from CFIB shows small businesses are still struggling with business confidence at lows not seen since the spring of 2020. Only 35 per cent of BC small businesses are making normal revenues and 37 per cent report losing money every day they are open. In addition, 80 per cent of BC small businesses report that increased government-imposed costs are a significant challenge for their business.

CFIB is calling on the BC government to change the legislation so that it is based on a calendar year, not the employee start date. In addition, CFIB is asking for the employer-paid sick day entitlement to be pro-rated from the employee start date. In the absence of these changes, the BC government should pay for the additional 5 days.
 
“At the end of the day businesses were told 5 sick days and that’s what they were expecting to pay for, anything above that should be paid for by the government,” concluded Dormuth.

Business owners concerned about employer-paid sick leave can sign CFIB’s petition at https://initiative.cfib-fcei.ca/british-columbia-sick-days-petition/.   
 
For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:

Annie Dormuth
BC provincial affairs director
403 700-1945
[email protected]
 
About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members (9,000 in BC) across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.

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