Benefits & Pensions
P.E.I. amends regulations to provide job protection for workers who are sick
Prince Edward Island is expanding its Emergency Leave, introduced during COVID, to cover certain types of communicable diseases and allow workers to take job-protected, unpaid leave on the advice of medical professionals.
It is also extending a COVID-19 Special Leave Fund to run through March 21, 2023, that will pay the wages for workers who are sick from COVID for up to 10 days.
When an employee has been diagnosed with a disease transmitted by respiratory route, such as COVID-19 or influenza, and has been advised to stay home from work by a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner, they can be eligible for Emergency Leave, it said.
Changes have been made to the Emergency Leave Regulations under the Employment Standards Act to ensure workers have job protection when they are sick, the province said.
Emergency leave was originally introduced during the pandemic to provide job-protected leave to employees required to self-isolate under orders made by the Chief Public Health Office. Now that the mandatory isolation requirement has ended, regulations have changed to continue supporting workers, it said.
This leave will provide employees with unpaid leave and job protection for the duration of their contagious period based on the advice of a medical professional. The regulation changes will come into force on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022.
“These regulation changes will ensure workers have job protection as we continue to follow the advice of the Chief Public Health Office and stay home when we are sick,” said Bloyce Thompson, economic growth, tourism and culture minister. “Our government is committed to strengthening the Employment Standards Act to support workers, and this is one change with more to come when the comprehensive review of the act is complete.”
Special leave fund for COVID-19 extended
In addition to regulation changes, the COVID-19 Special Leave Fund has been extended to March 31, 2023.
The fund is a temporary support for workers and self-employed people who are unable to schedule a vaccination appointment outside of work hours, are unable to work due to illness, COVID-19 testing or self-isolation requirements, or to care for their children who cannot attend their school or regular childcare due to COVID-19 closure and who do not have access to paid sick leave or qualify for an income replacement or insurance program.
This program will reimburse employers and/or a self-employed person without a paid sick leave program for sick time of an employee/person who missed scheduled time in a one-week period:
- To attend a COVID-19 vaccination appointment,
- Due to illness,
- Due to COVID-19 testing,
- Due to the need to self-isolate, and/or
- To care for their child(ren) or family member requiring supervised care who cannot attend their school or regular care provider due to COVID-19 closures, sickness or self-isolation.
Coverage for employers:
- Maximum of 5 days of wages per week, per employee;
- Access up to a maximum of 10 days per employee;
- Calculated on eligible wages paid to a maximum reimbursement of $20/hour or $160/day.
- Mandatory Employer-Related Costs (MERC’s) are eligible (EI, CPP, WCB, etc.); and
- A calculated 5% Administration Fee.
Coverage for self-employed:
- Maximum of 5 days of lost earnings per week;
- Can access a maximum of 10 days;
- Calculated $20/hour to a maximum daily reimbursement of $160/day.
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