Labour Media release

Media release: Workers’ Action Centre urges Premier to reconsider position on sick leave

June 1, 2019

The Halifax Workers’ Action Centre (Halifax-WAC) is renewing its call for the Labour Standards Code to be amended to guarantee employees paid sick leave.

Last week, Prime Minister Trudeau said he would work with provincial governments to ensure all workers had paid sick leave. When asked about it, Premier McNeil suggested he would not consider making paid said sick leave a minimum employment standard.

McNeil says that employees seeking paid sick leave should join unions. Halifax-WAC believes that employees in Nova Scotia should unionize to have a collective voice in their working conditions.  However, the process takes time and needs to be made more accessible.  Halifax-WAC demands that Nova Scotia guarantee paid sick days under provincial legislation to make them immediately accessible to all.

The Premier’s comments come at a time when it is clearer than ever before that employees should be guaranteed paid time off work when they are experiencing illness.

“No one should have to choose between going in to work sick and paying their bills,” said Katrin MacPhee, an organizer with the Halifax-WAC, “Every person working in Nova Scotia should be guaranteed paid time off work when they are sick.”

The Halifax-WAC is calling on the provincial government to amend the Labour Standards Code to guarantee employees ten days of paid sick leave per year.

Currently, employees are only entitled to three days off work for sickness per year. There is no requirement that the employee be paid for the time off.

The Halifax-WAC has repeatedly called for paid sick leave to be made a minimum employment standard in Nova Scotia, citing benefits such as preventing the spread of disease and increasing sick workers’ rate of recovery.

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The Halifax-WAC is a not-for-profit committed to improving the lives and working conditions of low-waged and marginalized workers. It provides systemic advocacy through campaigns like the Fight for 15 and Fairness and one-on-one support for workers facing difficulty in their individual employment relationships.

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