Today, the Government of Ontario announced that it will introduce the COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act. The legislation, if passed, would provide up to three paid sick days per employee. This program will be retroactive to April 19, 2021 and effective until September 25, 2021, the date the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will expire. Employers will be reimbursed up to $200 per day for each employee, and the program will be administered through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
Doctor’s notes are not required for an employee to access these paid sick days. Employees are eligible for a sick day for the following reasons:
- going for a COVID-19 test;
- staying home awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test;
- being sick with COVID-19;
- going to get vaccinated;
- experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19 vaccination;
- having been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by an employer, medical practitioner or other authority; and
- taking care of a dependent who is:
- sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19; or
- self-isolating due to COVID-19.
This legislation would only apply to employees who:
- are covered by the Employment Standards Act (independent contractors or federally regulated employees would not qualify for these days).
- do not already receive paid sick time through their employer.
Eligible employers would need to make their application for reimbursement within 120 days of the paid leave. If the employee’s regular rate of pay is less than $200 day, the employer will only be eligible for a reimbursement of the employee’s regular rate of pay. The province will release further details on how employers can apply for reimbursement.