Note that the Sooke Region Chamber is a member of the BC Chamber of Commerce. Through their local membership, Sooke Chamber members are also members of the BC Chamber of Commerce. The BC Chamber has a seat at the table when it comes to lobbying the province on policy impacting small and medium sized businesses, including those in Sooke.
VANCOUVER, BC, November 24, 2021— In response to the provincial government’s introduction of permanent paid sick days, Fiona Famulak, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement:
“It is important to make sure employees are safe and healthy. Reducing transmission of illness in the workplace is a benefit to both individuals and their employers.
“Our concern with today’s announcement is that unlike the temporary paid sick days program, the cost for permanent paid sick leave will be born solely by employers. As with any cost increase, this will create challenges for some small businesses at a particularly difficult time when they are still trying to recover from the pandemic and can least afford the additional burden.
“While many businesses have been resilient through this pandemic, it doesn’t mean they are thriving. They are emotionally and financially exhausted. The added cost of the permanent paid sick leave program is on top of a number of cost increases that businesses have needed to shoulder in the last few years, that include the introduction of the employer health tax, rising property taxes, and costs associated with implementing safety measures for the pandemic. Today’s announcement is a gut punch to the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of B.C. businesses.
“We have called, and continue to call, on the B.C. government to find ways to reduce costs for B.C. businesses, the economic backbone of this province.
“Meantime, there are details that employers will need to know in advance of the implementation of permanent paid sick days on January 1, 2022, and we look forward to understanding more in the coming days and weeks.”
Additional Resources for Employers
- Employers are to pay regular wages during up to five days of sick leave, for fulltime, part-time, temporary and casual workers. See here for employee eligibility.
- Employees are also entitled to three days of unpaid leave. See here for details.
- Read the original announcement
- View more information for employers
Backgrounder from the Province
Permanent paid sick leave public engagement process
Following the amendments to the Employment Standards Act that laid the groundwork to establish B.C.’s first permanent paid sick leave, a comprehensive public engagement process was undertaken to determine the minimum number of days of sick leave employees will be entitled to.
More than 60,000 responses were received during the public consultation that ran from early August until late October.
In the first phase of consultations, more than 26,000 workers and businesses completed surveys on the current arrangements for paid sick leave, and what is needed.
Highlights from the Phase 1 survey responses:
- Many employees without access to paid sick leave reported regularly going to work sick or returning to work before fully recovering.
- Employers and employees both reported concerns about employees coming to work sick and infecting others.
- Approximately 60% of employers do not offer employer-paid sick leave to any of their employees.
- Of the employers that offer paid sick leave to their employees:
- Nearly 45% provide three to five days a year
- About 25% provide six to 10 days
- About 20% provide more than 10 days
- Nearly 10% provide less than three days
- Of those who have access to employer-paid sick leave, about 70% indicated they typically do not use all of the paid sick days they get each year.
In the second phase, informed by the surveys, three options were developed for the minimum entitlement: three, five or 10 days: 33,975 workers and businesses provided feedback.
Highlights from the Phase 2 options responses:
- Support for the three options – either strongly favoured or somewhat favoured:
- Option 1 (three days) – 64% of workers; 44% of employers
- Option 2 (five days) – 75% of workers; 28% of employers
- Option 3 (10 days) – 81% of workers; 19% of employers