BC Announces Five Permanent Paid Sick Days Under Employment Standards Act

Effective January 1, 2022, British Columbia employees subject to the Employment Standards Act who have worked 90 consecutive days with an employer, will be entitled to 5 days of paid leave in each employment year, for personal illness or injury. Employment year will be the common date used for calculating entitlement for all employees which may be the calendar year or some other date.  Unpaid sick leave of 3 days will be on top of the paid entitlement.  As previously discussed in our article dated May 11, 2021, BC introduced changes last spring to the Employment Standards Act, allowing for temporary paid COVID-19 leave up to December 31, 2021 and permanent paid sick days thereafter; but, the number of paid sick days was to be prescribed at a later date. The Minister of Labour has now signed OIC 637, prescribing the number at 5 paid sick days.

Provincially regulated employers in British Columbia will need to consider if they have an existing paid sick leave policy which satisfies the statutory obligation, or if their policy needs to be amended to comply with the new statutory minimum.  Employers will be entitled to request reasonably sufficient proof that the employee is entitled to the leave, which the employee is required to provide as soon as practicable.

Please contact a member of our Labour and Employment Group if you have any questions regarding the above.

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