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Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 paid sick leave program extended


Nova Scotia has extended its COVID-19 paid sick leave program to May 7, 2022.

That’s the same date Canada’s Sickness Recovery Benefit comes to an end. Program requirements for Nova Scotia’s voluntary program will not change, the province said.

“Nova Scotians know how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at work, and we’re happy to support them in making the right decisions,” said Premier Tim Houston. “We continue to listen to Nova Scotians and remain focused on keeping workplaces safe. Extending the program supports this objective.”

The program had been scheduled to end March 31. The extension means that sick days between April 1 and May 7 may be eligible for reimbursement.

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How it works

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program is open to employers and self-employed workers and covers wages for employees and self-employed workers, up to a maximum of $20 per hour or $160 per day. The maximum payment is $640 per worker.

Nova Scotians who have already received the maximum payment since the program relaunched in December are not eligible for additional paid sick days during the extended period.

People who miss less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work time in a one-week period (for example, 15 hours or less in a scheduled 32-hour work week) can apply if they need to self-isolate due to exposure, close contact, or because they are experiencing symptoms and getting tested. They may also qualify if they are going to a vaccine or booster appointment.

Employer reimbursements

Eligible businesses that continue to pay their employees during their leave, and self-employed workers who miss time, may be reimbursed as quickly as five business days from their application.

“I am actively engaged in conversations with labour ministers across Canada about a permanent paid sick leave program,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “In the meantime, while COVID is still very active in our communities, we want to make sure Nova Scotians can access this temporary program, which people have told us has been helpful in keeping COVID out of the workplace.”

Nova Scotia’s program complements the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which is available to employees and self-employed workers who have missed 50 per cent or more of their scheduled work week as a result of COVID-19.

Since the program launched in May 2021, about $600,000 has been paid out to residents covering 4,000 sick days. The total program cost, including administration, was just under $1 million.

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