Increases to Statutory Sick Days for Both BC and Federal Workers

BC provincially regulated employers will see an increase to the statutory minimum paid sick days starting January 1, and federally regulated private sector employees are expected to soon be entitled to a minimum of 10 days of paid medical leave per calendar year. These changes will increase the minimum statutory requirements. Employers may already be providing these paid leave periods, but if not will need to plan to do so.

Currently, employees in federally regulated industries which are subject to the Canada Labour Code are allowed a minimum of 5 days off work each calendar year (3 of which are paid days) for personal illness or injury. Once the changes are brought into force by the Federal Government, employees who have completed 30 days of continuous employment with their employer will be entitled to 3 days of paid medical leave, and then after 60 days of continuous employment, will be entitled to one day of paid medical leave at the beginning of each month for the previous month’s work, up to a maximum of 10 days per calendar year. An employer may require that an employee not take time that is less than one full day. Any days not used in a calendar year may be carried over into the new calendar year, but only 10 days of paid medical leave may be taken in a calendar year. If an employee takes paid medical leave of at least 5 consecutive days, an employer may request, in writing, a medical certificate within 15 days after the employee has returned to work, as proof that the employee was incapable of working for the period of their paid medical leave.

In a similar move to increase the number of paid sick days for employees, British Columbia has also announced that employees working in that province who are subject to the Employment Standard Act will be entitled to 5 days of paid sick leave starting on January 1, 2022. To read more about this change, please see our blog, “BC announces five permanent paid sick days under Employment Standards Act” (November 25, 2021).  Currently, employees in BC are entitled by statute to a minimum of 3 days for unpaid leave each year for personal illness or injury.

In anticipation of these changes coming into effect, federally regulated employers in Canada and provincially regulated employers in B.C. will each separately need to consider existing medical leave policies to plan for compliance.

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

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