On January 1, 2022, the BC Government introduced a new paid sick leave as an amendment to the British Columbia Employment Standards Act (the “Act”). As set out in our previous article, the new provisions to the Act provided for 5 days of paid sick leave per employment year for employees who have completed 90 consecutive days of employment.

Since the leave came into effect, employers have struggled with its implementation because the entitlement follows the “employment year” rather than the “calendar year”. This necessarily meant that employers would have a separate date for each employee based on their start date of employment.

On March 28, 2022, the BC Government announced that it was amending the Act to reference the “calendar year” rather than the “employment year”. The bill to amend the Act was passed on March 30, 2022, and came into force the following day.

In the same bill, the BC Government also removed a provision that allowed for the provisions of a collective agreement to replace the entitlement to paid sick leave. This amendment ensures that all employees, regardless of whether they are governed by a collective agreement that has alternative sick leave provisions, are entitled to the 5 days of paid sick leave.

The new amendments to the paid sick leave provisions will simplify the process of administering the sick leave for all British Columbia employers. In addition, the amendments will relieve many employers of onerous revisions to existing sick leave policies.