As many of you are aware, on April 28, 2021, the Government of Ontario responded to calls from members of the public and public health experts by introducing temporary paid sick leave to Ontarians in an attempt to curb the transmission of COVID-19. The Minister of Labour and Minister of Finance introduced the Bill called Bill 284, COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act (the “Act”) and on April 29, just one day after the bill was introduced, it quickly received Royal Assent and became law in Ontario, which begs the question, “what does the new Act mean for me?”
At Walker Law, we aim to answer all of your employment litigation questions, as such this article aims to provide you with a brief summary of the Act and to answer any questions you may have.
To be eligible for the paid sick leave, the employee must be governed by the Employment Standards Act, and must not already be entitled to sick leave by their employer.
The Act is retroactive from April 19 until September 25, 2021, and entitles employees to infectious disease emergency pay up to $200 per day for up to three days. Employees can claim the paid sick leave for a variety of reasons including:
- going for a COVID-19 test;
- awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test;
- being sick with the virus;
- going to get vaccinated;
- experiencing a side effect from the COVID-19 vaccine; or
- taking care of a person who has COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is self-isolating.
Employers are 100% reimbursed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) but must make their claims within 120 days of the paid sick leave being taken by the employee.
The government has indicated that employees will not be required to provide a sick note to their employer to claim the benefit.
The Ontario government has also indicated that they are seeking to double the payments of the federally mandated Canadian Recovery Sickness Benefit (“CRSB”) from $500 to $1,000 per week before taxes; however, this has not yet received approval.
If you have any further questions or concerns about taking paid sick leave, the Act, or other employment litigation questions, please contact employment litigators at Walker Law. Please note that this article is intended for educational purposes only. It contains general information about legal matters and should not be considered legal advice.