Sign our open letter and let the provincial and federal governments know: We have a plan. Let's make it happen.
You saw the news stories over and over during the pandemic: workplaces where someone felt sick, but they had no choice but to come into work. And soon there was an outbreak.
When workers don't have job-protected paid sick leave, they know that if they stay home to get better, it'll cost them wages they can't afford. And that's the best-case scenario. For a lot of workers who stay home sick, employers retaliate with fewer shifts and shorter hours. If they're away from work for more than three days, they can even lose their jobs.
BC employment law doesn't require employers to provide paid sick leave, and fewer than half our province's workers have it. 53% of BC workers aged 25 to 65 have no paid sick days at all. The result: they can either follow public health orders, or they can pay their bills... but they can't do both. And many of them go in sick.
Even the United States is doing better than we are. 76% of U.S. workers have some form of paid sick leave.
British Columbians want paid sick leave. In a May 2020 survey by Stratcom, more than 75% of British Columbians supported permanent paid sick leave for all BC workers, with employers and government sharing the cost during the pandemic. And that same poll showed strong support for 10 days of paid leave.
Paid sick leave helps employers, too. When sick workers can't stay home to get better, their illness can get worse and last longer. More employees get sick, driving absences up and productivity down. And customers' health is at risk, too -- which is high on the public's mind these days.
Our whole province is better off with job-protected paid sick leave. Letting workers stay home and get better is good policy, period... but it's especially important during the pandemic. A workplace outbreak can shut down entire businesses, and undermines the public's confidence. And if those outbreaks are widespread, it strains our public health system.
Premier John Horgan wants paid sick leave. Justin Trudeau says he supports it. So why is it stalled? Because Trudeau wants to get all of the provinces on board first... and that could take forever. Every day BC workers are heading into work sick. We need to act now.