'These proactive changes ensure that no one will lose their jobs for prioritizing their health and safety"
British Columbia has amended its employment standards to better support workers both during the COVID-19 public health emergency and in the long term.
“These proactive changes ensure that no one will lose their jobs for prioritizing their health and safety, or the health and safety of their loved ones and their community,” says Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general. “Given these extraordinary times, we are ensuring that the legislation provides protections for those impacted by COVID-19.”
The changes will allow workers to immediately take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are ill, need to self-isolate, need to care for their child or other dependant or if their employer is concerned that the employee may expose others to risk. The leave will be retroactive to Jan. 27.
While on job-protected leave related to the COVID-19 crisis, workers may also be eligible for financial support through expanded employment insurance (EI) benefits through the federal government.
During the public health emergency, people can take the job-protected leave for as long as the circumstance require them to be away from work, says the government.
The changes also provide up to three days of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury. This is a permanent change to the act that brings B.C. in line with all other provinces in Canada.
“This crisis has highlighted the importance of having permanent job-protected illness or injury leave in place for people in this province,” says Harry Bains, minister of labour. “We’re stepping up and bringing in this new leave to support workers over the long term, beyond this crisis.”