Furstenau: Paid sick leave inadequate to protect workers sick with COVID-19
BC Greens Leader Sonia Furstenau. (Photo supplied by BC Greens)
The NDP government’s new paid sick leave program didn’t receive a ringing endorsement from the BC Green Party.
Green leader Sonia Furstenau says three days off is better than none, but it’s far from adequate to provide people with the time to recover from COVID-19.
The Cowichan Valley MLA added that the program falls short of fixing the gaps in the federal program, meaning workers will continue to fall through the cracks.
Furstenau says a permanent policy should be decided in the Legislature to ensure proper oversight and that the number of sick days is enshrined in law.
She says “half-measures will not solve the problem of workers having to choose between staying home when they’re sick and facing possible financial devastation.”
“I’m also very concerned that cabinet is giving itself a blank cheque to determine the number of days for permanent leave,” she said.
“It is essential to work with labour, business, and stakeholders to create an equitable and effective permanent solution, and that the solution be set in legislation. The permanent policy should be decided in the Legislature to ensure proper oversight and that the number of sick days is enshrined in law.”
Furstenau says permanent policy should also take into account that not all businesses are the same.
“While many small businesses and specific industries have been hurt by COVID-19, others have profited immensely. After the pandemic, small and independent businesses with tight margins and large employers that routinely turn significant profits should not be treated the same. A permanent policy should account for these differences.”