The Retail Action Network says the impacts of COVID-19 has illuminated the instability of working in the retail and hospitality industry. (Unsplash)

B.C. worker advocate group calls for more sick days, protected medical leave

COVID-19 highlights need for changes to workers legislation: Retail Action Network

With thousands laid off or out of work, a B.C. workers’ rights group says the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the need to have paid sick days enshrined in the Employment Standards Act.

The Retail Action Network is calling for a number of changes to be introduced as law including 14 paid sick days without a doctor’s note needed, protected medical leave of up to 52 weeks and the elimination of the three-month probationary period for new employees.

The network says any temporary measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic should remain in place permanently.

READ MORE COVID-19 COVERAGE HERE

On March 23, the province announced a plan to protect workers during the COVID-19 crisis, which has shut down businesses and offices across the country under orders to limit physical proximity to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

That plan saw two major changes to worker legislation; the first allowing workers to take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for COVID-19-related reasons. The other change was permanent – providing three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who can’t work because of illness or injury.

The Retail Action Network says those measures fail to recognize the realities of working in the retail or hospitality industry, realities illuminated by the ongoing public health crisis.

“The overwhelming impacts of COVID-19 are falling on the shoulders of working-class people. The need for a bare minimum of 14 days of paid sick and emergency leave is more apparent than ever before,” said a statement from Andreea Micu of the Retail Action Network. “The recent amendment that allows for three unpaid sick days per calendar is wildly insufficient, and puts workers in an unhealthy position.”

The Retail Action Network also calls for immediate investigations into any B.C. business that hasn’t issued any worker a final paycheque.

The federal government has introduced a number of relief measures to help workers impacted by the pandemic, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which provides $2,000 per month for up to four months for those who have lost income due to coronavirus.

READ ALSO: How to apply for employment insurance

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Considerations made to keep Crofton drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

$10,000 stolen bikes recovered after Maple Bay break-in

Police track high-end bikes to storage locker

North Cowichan Mayor assesses drive-by celebration situation in Crofton

Siebring says bylaw officer’s response to a complaint routinely done all the time

Summer tubing ban on Cowichan River lifted

The Tube Shack opening on June 27

Hot ticket: Tickets on sale tonight for drive-in theatre at Cowichan Exhibition

Fresh Air Cinema bringing Onward and The Lion King to the big screen at the Cowichan Exhibition

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

RCMP, coroner investigate ‘unexpected deaths’ on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Most Read