The availability and ease of access to sick leave varies widely among both union and non-union workers in B.C. If we wish to slow the spread of COVID-19, no worker should have to choose between their health and a paycheque. The BCGEU, the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED), and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) have all publicly called on all levels of government and other B.C. employers to protect working people from financial hardship. Read about labour's statements here:
- BCGEU - BCGEU calls for suspension of rent and mortgage payments for sick/self-isolating workers during COVID-19 pandemic (March 13)
- BCGEU - B.C. employers must drop doctor's note requirements to limit COVID-19 spread, says BCGEU (March 10)
- No Doctors notes needed: BC Family Doctors open letter to employers
- BCFED - Protection for workers must be key pillar of COVID-19 response (March 9)
- CLC – Letter to federal Minister of Finance regarding income security measures (Feb 28)
On March 11, the federal government announced they will be suspending the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance sickness benefits in cases of COVID-19 illness or quarantine. These benefits provide financial support to workers who have lost wages due to unpaid leave. You can find details on the program here: EI Sickness (link: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness.html )
This change to EI was one of the public asks from your union, the BCFED and the CLC.