Further to our blog post of November 25, 2021 regarding upcoming amendments to the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) to introduce paid sick leave in BC (you can read it here), as of January 1, 2022 employers in BC are required to provide 5 days of paid sick leave to their employees.
Here are some key points for employers to keep in mind:
- This requirement does not apply to employers who are not governed by the ESA (e.g. federally regulated businesses), or employees who are not protected by the ESA (e.g. certain types of professionals).
- Employers do not need to provide the paid sick days until the employee has worked at least 90 days for the employer.
- These paid sick days apply equally to part-time employees – they also get 5 days.
- These 5 days are in addition to the 3 unpaid sick days required by the ESA.
- Employers can request some proof of illness.
- These paid sick days are for an employee who is sick; they are not for an employee to take care of someone else.
- These paid sick days are not paid out if they are not used by the end of the year.
- These paid sick days do not carryover to the next year if they are not used by the end of the year.
- These paid sick days cannot be divided into half days.
- The amount for a paid sick day is calculated using the same formula as employers already use for statutory holidays (an “average day’s pay”). Learn more here.
As with most requirements of the ESA, these are minimum requirements. Employers can choose to provide more generous paid sick leave to employees. For example, some employers could allow employees to carry over the paid sick days if they are not used. Or some employers could allow employees to use the paid sick days before they have worked for 90 days with the employer.