Five paid sick days is inadequate to protect workers

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Woman on couch wiping nose with tissue and looking at thermometer.

VANCOUVER—The provincial government has failed the B.C. workers by succumbing to pressure from employers to minimize paid sick days, says Unifor.

“It is a failure in leadership,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “According to the Horgan government, ten paid sick days is good enough for the federal sector but not good enough for the majority of B.C.’s most vulnerable workers.”

The announcement today that the B.C. government will legislate five employer-paid sick days as the statutory minimum comes as a surprise to many, since the Prime Minister has publicly committed to making ten paid sick days the policy for workers regulated by the federal government. There is widespread support in B.C. for making ten days the provincial standard.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative reports that nine in every ten B.C. workers with an income less than $30,000 has no access to paid sick leave.

“Illness spreading in the workplace will only harm employers in the long-term, so ultimately such a timid approach to sick leave will benefit no one,” said McGarrigle. “It is very disappointing that the Horgan government couldn’t follow the Trudeau government’s lead.”

“When it comes to public health, B.C.’s workers need a government that listens to them, not one that cuts deals with a handful of powerful employers,” added McGarrigle.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews via Facetime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at @email or 778-903-6549 (cell).