On November 24, the BC government announced details of its plan to require employers in BC to permanently provide paid sick days for their employees. Specifically, the BC Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”) will be amended to require that employers allow employees to take 5 paid sick days per year. The amendments will take effect on January 1, 2022.

More details are still to come but, so far, it is clear that:

  • This requirement does not apply to employers who are not governed by the ESA (e.g. federally regulated businesses), or employees who are not protected by the ESA (e.g. certain types of professionals).
  • Employers do not need to provide the paid sick days until the employee has worked at least 90 days for the employer.
  • These 5 days are in addition to the 3 unpaid sick days required by the ESA.
  • Employers can request some proof of illness.

The BC government news release can be found here.

We will provide more details about this paid sick leave requirement as they become available.

For employers in non-unionized settings who already provide for at least 5 paid sick days for their employees, this amendment to the ESA should have minimal impact on their workplace.