From The Maple: Reporter Jasmyne Eastmond took a deep-dive into the business groups lobbying British Columbia’s NDP government to halt and delay implementing paid sick leave legislation, which is due to come into effect in January 2022.
- B.C. workers who fall sick with COVID-19 are currently able to access three days of government-subsidized sick leave through a temporary program, but 53 per cent of workers don’t have permanent access to sick days through their employer.
As Eastmond reports, big business lobbyists with long track records of opposing initiatives designed to protect workers are pushing hard to block the upcoming legislation.
- For example, on September 8, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce lobbied in favour of pausing the legislation to “extend consultation so that the program’s impact on business is fully understood before a decision is made.”
However, David Fairey, an economist and research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said business lobbyists are only considering paid sick days in terms of upfront costs, rather than the public health factor and its impact on workplace productivity.
- “People who go to work sick spread infection to other workers and cause more sickness and more absenteeism,” Fairey told Eastmond. “That reduces the productivity of the workplace. And workers who report to work sick are less productive than they are if they’re healthy.”
Read Eastmond’s full story for The Maple here.