Closing the Paid Sick Day Gap

The Decent Work and Health Network has released a new report on the urgent need for paid sick days in every jurisdiction across Canada, Before it’s too late: How to close the paid sick days gap during COVID-19 and beyond. They also published this op-ed in the Toronto Star.

FIfty-eight percent of workers in Canada do not have paid sick days. These workers are disproportionately low-wage workers who are women, Black, Indigenous, and racialized.  This situation puts Canada among the bottom quarter of countries around the world that do not guarantee paid sick leave on the first day of illness. Governments must address this to ensure a safe return to school for kids and to protect against a second wave of COVID-19.

A summary of the report’s recommendations are:

  • All provincial, territorial, and federal jurisdictions must update their employment standards to:
    • Require employers to provide at least 7 days of paid emergency leave on a permanent basis.
    • Require employers to automatically provide an additional 14 days of paid emergency leave during public health emergencies.
  • Any new paid sick leave legislation must:
    • Ensure paid sick days are fully paid, adequate, and permanent
    • Ensure paid sick days are available to all workers, regardless of employment status, immigration status, or workplace size
    • Prohibit employers from requiring sick notes
    • Prevent the introduction of any new barriers to accessing paid sick days
    • Cover personal sickness, injury, or emergency, as well as family emergencies and responsibilities

Read the full report here.