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BC Sick Days: What you need to know

On November 24, 2021, the British Columbia government announced that as of January 1, 2022, all employees who fall under the Employment Standards Act will be entitled to 5 employer-paid sick days per year. 

Which employees are eligible?
The paid sick leave provision applies to all employees covered by the Employment Standards Act, including part-time, temporary, and casual employees. We do not yet know whether the 90-day employment criterion will apply to these sick days. 

How much do employees get paid for the sick day?
You will need to pay your employees their regular wages for any sick days taken. 

Do the sick days have to be taken consecutively?
No, the days do not need to be taken consecutively. Employees are entitled to 5 days total over the course of the year.

CFIB is working to clarify whether the 5 paid sick days must be taken first before the 3 unpaid days. We will update as information becomes available. 

Do the sick days roll over to the next year if they are not used in full?
There is no carryover of sick days. The five days are per employment year. If unused, they disappear. 

What does the government define illness as?
The government is not defining illness. It will be up to the employer and employee to determine this at a local level. 

What if an employee decides they need a mental health day? 
The five paid sick days are for illness or injury. Taking a rest day is not considered an injury or an illness; however, if an employee complains the employment standards board would have to do a determination on a case by case basis.

What about the 3 paid sick days for workers who miss work due to COVID-19?
The program providing for 3 paid sick days for workers who have been diagnosed with, or who await testing for, COVID-19 will end on December 31, 2021. 

Is there a provincial guidance document to help navigate this?
Yes. Information is available at the Employment Standards' Guide on Paid sick leave. 

Will there be funding available from government to help offset this extra cost?
No, the government is not planning to provide financial help to businesses offset the extra cost caused by the paid sick days. 

CFIB will be advocating for the BC government to offset these additional costs. 

Read CFIB's statement on BC Employer-Paid Sick Days

Read CFIB’s report on employer paid sick days.

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