Under the weight of mounting public and political pressure to address paid sick leave, the Ontario government has introduced and passed new legislation to provide three paid sick days as part of a provincial program to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton and Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy made the announcement on Wednesday.
The program will require employers to provide employees with up to three days of paid leave because of certain reasons related to COVID-19, including:
- going for a COVID-19 test
- staying home awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test
- being sick with COVID-19
- going to get vaccinated
- experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19 vaccination
- having been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by an employer, medical practitioner, or other authority
- taking care of a dependent who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19
The program will allow eligible employers to apply for a reimbursement of up to $200 per day. The program will be retroactive from April 19 and extend to September 25.
The program will not require sick notes and workers will not have to fill out any forms or applications. Instead, the employer will pay the employee out of pocket and will be reimbursed by the province through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).