Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh says now is the time to see Nova Scotia implement paid sick days as our COVID cases continue to climb and a 4 week lockdown is in place. With 38 new cases today, new variants, and many schools closed, our government must ensure worker safety is front and center.
“Today, the premier said if you are sick, stay home and they implemented new restrictions and said that there would be support for businesses, but there was no mention of workers. In Ontario, Premier Ford has hinted that his government might act on paid sick leave, but there are no details.
“We will continue to advocate for the low-wage workers that don’t have paid leave and are at higher risk of exposure. Not enough workers have access to paid sick leave, and when they’re sick, they face an impossible choice between making ends meet and staying home to protect public health and get better. It’s a decision nobody should have to make.
“Workplace outbreaks and transmissions during the COVID-19 pandemic have made it clear that paid sick leave is critical to protecting public health. Recovery must be equitable for workers and require more support so they are not left behind. Recovery is just not about pumping dollars in to help businesses. Many low-income workers, a majority of whom are women, are being struck hard. There’s an urgent need for immediate government action, especially with new, highly contagious variants now spreading through our population,” says Cavanagh.
He added that it’s a public health imperative that sick workers stay home from work to curb the spread of infectious diseases. Employer-paid sick days would protect public health while increasing workplace productivity, offering more stable income for workers and reducing health costs for governments.
“With the return of community spread in Nova Scotia, the need for paid sick days is more evident than ever. The Nova Scotia Liberal government must lead by example and implement paid sick days now,” Cavanagh says.