Province Announces Requirement to Provide 5 Days Paid Sick Leave

The BC government has announced a mandate that all employers provide employees with 5 days of paid sick leave each year, starting on January 1, 2022.   Read below for summary of the new rules for your business or consult one of our BBOT-member HR professionals for help:

This announcement comes after two months of consultations, during which the Burnaby Board of Trade presented to the Minister of Labour directly, and made a formal submission recommending the paid sick leave implementation be delayed, and that it be capped at 3 days, not extended beyond full-time employees, and include cost offsets somewhere else for business.   Read our recommendations >   

The Burnaby Board of Trade feels this requirement is too broad, and represents too much of a burden on businesses to be implemented right now.  Read our news release and hear us in media:  Burnaby NowCKNW – The Jill Bennet ShowBurnaby Beacon >

New Paid Sick Leave Requirement Details

Starting Date

This new rule starts on January 1, 2022

Which Businesses Are Impacted?

Almost all businesses in BC are impacted by this, as it governs all employees who fall under the Employment Standards Act.

There are some exceptions, including unionized workplaces (which would have their own collective agreements), independent contractors (who would have their own contracts), and people in certain professional fields such as engineers or lawyers (read more).  This also does not apply to federally regulated sectors, including air transportation, banks, telecommunications and other. (see list).

Which Employees Does This Cover?

This covers all regular employees, including full-time, part-time and casual workers.  This does not include independent contractors.

Employees are required to have been employed for at least 90 days, but here is no requirement that they have worked a certain number of hours or days, like there is with statutory holidays.   This was one of the specific limitations the Burnaby Board of Trade is fighting for.

How Many Days, How Much Pay Is Required?

Employers must provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave each year.

The rate of pay for these sick days is at least the average day’s pay for the employee.  To calculate that, you would take the Total Wages Earned in the preceding 30 days divided by the number of days worked during that time.

Include all wages – this includes salary, commission, statutory holiday pay and paid vacation. Don’t include overtime.

The new sick days are in addition to other leaves allowed, including 3 days of unpaid sick leave, and 5 days of unpaid family-responsibility leave.

Can I ask for a Doctor’s Note?

Employers are allowed to ask for “reasonably sufficient proof of illness”, but the government has stated that such proof should not be sought each time a day is used.   As the regulations are introduced, more clarity may be coming.

Need More Information?

BBOT members can contact us directly with their questions or concerns, or information will be made available on the Employment Standards Act website.