New! BC Legislated Paid Sick Leave
A new paid sick leave for illness and injury under the BC Employment Standards Act (ESA) has been announced. Effective January 1, 2022, the Illness or injury leave, commonly referred to as sick leave will provide eligible employees with up to 3 unpaid days and 5 paid days of job-protected leave. This new paid sick leave is currently the most offered in Canada.
Download an updated Sick Leave Policy
Paid Sick Leave Eligibility
The paid sick leave entitlement applies to employees covered by the ESA who have been employed with the same employer for 90 consecutive days.
This includes full-time, part-time, temporary or casual employees, as well as most seasonal or temporary foreign workers.
The ESA doesn't cover certain types of employees, including:
- Federally-regulated sectors
- Self-employed workers or independent contractors
- Employees in professions and occupations excluded from the ESA
Proof of Eligibility
Employers can ask an employee for sufficient proof of illness or injury, which an employee must provide as soon as practicable.
At the same time, an employee doesn't need to give advance notice or seek prior approval to miss a day of work due to personal illness or injury.
Calculating Sick Leave Pay
Employers will need to pay their employees their regular wages for these days. To calculate for employees working various hours use the same formula as calculating statutory holiday pay:
Total wages ÷ number of days worked = sick day pay (an average day’s pay)
Base your calculation on days worked during the 30 calendar days before the sick day – include vacation days.
Include all wages – this includes salary, commission, statutory holiday pay and paid vacation. Don’t include overtime.
The average day’s pay is then multiplied by the number of sick days the employee requests.
- Employees are also entitled to 3 days of unpaid sick leave in addition to the 5 paid sick leave.
- If not fully used, days don’t carry over into the next year, and nothing needs to be paid out by the employer. If an employee uses 3 days for 2022, in 2023 they will have 5 days.
- The sick days don't need to be taken consecutively.
- This legislated leave replaces the temporary COVID-19 related 3 days of paid sick leave that employees were previously entitled to, which expired on December 31, 2021.
- Part time workers also get 5 days, however the calculation of pay they get for that sick day is based on their average pay based on last 30 days as outlined in the above formula.
- There is currently no limit for employees with multiple employers – they can receive up to 5 paid sick days from each employer.
- There is no reimbursement or subsidy for employers from the government at this time, employers are entirely responsible for the cost.
Advice for Employers
Starting January 1, 2022, employers who don't provide paid sick leave, or who provide less than 5 days of paid sick leave, will need to implement programs or top-up existing programs to meet the statutory sick pay requirements.
Employers with current sick pay programs should clarify with their employees that their existing paid sick benefits are not in addition to the 5 days required by the Act.
Also, employers who currently offer general paid time off such as flex days or paid time off (PTO), may want to clarify that at least 5 days are allocated to the statutory sick leave requirement to avoid having to pay additional paid sick days if an employee uses their flex days or PTO for other reasons.