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Five-day paid sick leave to come January 1st

B.C. will implement its new five-day paid sick leave as of January 1st for the province’s workforce.

According to the B.C. government, our province is the first to legislate this level of paid time off for workers who become sick.

The rules apply to all workers covered in the Employment Standards Act, including part-time workers. The benefit will come into effect for employees after 90 days of working with an organization.

“Until now, about half of B.C. workers have been unable to stay home when sick without losing wages,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “Many of those are lower-paid workers who can least afford to lose the money and, as a result, end up going to work sick. Paid sick leave is the right thing to do, and it is now in British Columbia permanently.”

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The paid sick leave program does not cover federally regulated sectors, self-employed workers and other professions explicitly mentioned in the act.

Provincial officials said the government’s decision was based on data gathered through a public consultation session.

“Experiences in other jurisdictions that have mandated paid sick leave have shown cost increases for most companies were less than expected. They also experienced significant benefits, including increased productivity and retention of trained staff, reduced risks of injury, improved morale and increased labour force participation,” said B.C. Government officials.

“Paid sick leave is good for workers, good for employers and good for our economy,” Bains said. “This is a significant milestone for our province, and I’m proud that we are supporting workers and employers in this important way. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

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