Permanent Paid Sick Leave
On this page…
Who: Employers and employees of B.C.
What: To determine the new minimum paid sick days in B.C. under the Employment Standards Act
Why: To provide permanent sick leave to reduce transmission of illness and support workers, employers, and B.C.’s economic recovery
How: Online survey
This engagement was done in two phases:
- Phase one: Two online surveys were available – one for employers and one for workers. (August 5 to September 14, 2021)
- Phase two: An Options Paper was created using the results of the two surveys and was available for public comment. (September 22 to October 25, 2021)
On November 24, 2021, government decided: as of January 1, 2022, employees covered by the Employment Standards Act are entitled to five paid sick leave days per year.
- Over 60,000 responses for both phases of the public engagement
- 26,742 responses to Phase One – 22,683 employee surveys and 4,059 employer surveys
- 33,975 responses to Phase Two – 26,138 employees, 5,081 employers, and 2,756 other types of respondents (including retirees and students)
- Almost 50% of employee respondents indicated they did not have access to any paid sick leave
- 62% of employer respondents reported they did not provide sick leave to any of their employees
- Employee respondents often reported using three to five days per year for illness; employer respondents reported similar use by their employees
- Employee respondents with higher incomes reported access to a greater number of paid sick days than employees with lower incomes
- Respondents from Public Administration, Utilities, and Educational Services were most likely to have access to paid sick days and
- Respondents from Retail, Wholesale Trade, Construction, Accommodation, Food Services, and Manufacturing were least likely to have access to any paid sick leave
|Summary of Support for all options||Employees||Employers|
|Option 1 (3 Paid Sick Days)||64%||44%|
|Option 2 (5 Paid Sick Days)||75%||28%|
|Option 3 (10 Paid Sick Days)||81%||19%|
Government chose the second-choice option of both employees and employers: an entitlement of 5 paid days.
Supporting research: Panel Survey Report
In addition to the online public engagements, a panel survey of employees across B.C. was undertaken. The online surveys were often completed by motivated members of the public with strong views on paid sick leave, but the panel survey provided a randomly sample of British Columbians and their thoughts on sick leave.