BC Government Announces Five Permanent Paid Sick Days

BC Labour Minister Harry Bains announced today that all workers in BC will have five paid sick days. This is a historic moment in the province’s history. The program begins on January 1, 2022, and will be employer-funded.

Today’s announcement improves upon the government’s temporary plan providing three days of COVID-related paid leave. The new, permanent plan provides five (5) paid days for any sickness or illness.

UFCW 1518, the labour movement, and other advocates have been fighting for a permanent, universal, employer-funded sick leave program since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s win is a momentous occasion in the advancement of workers’ rights in British Columbia and sets the stage for more improvements here and elsewhere.

“This is a big moment for worker rights, and it is long overdue. Paid sick days has always been a health and safety issue, which every worker should have access to,” UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak explained. “This is an important day for every worker who has not had access to paid sick days. Thank you to all of our members and every worker who shared their stories on why permanent paid sick days are so important. This helps make us a stronger society coming out of a pandemic than we were going into it.”

Today’s announcement means that far fewer people will have to choose between going to work sick and paying their bills. This legislation will help women and racialized workers who predominantly make up low-wage workers. The majority of these workers have not had access to permanent paid sick leave before.

You can learn more about the permanent sick leave plan on our FAQ page.

UFCW 1518 will continue to press the province to add more days to the permanent employer-funded sick leave program.