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P.E.I. workers to have access to paid sick leave starting in October

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March 25, 2024
By Todd Humber

(InsideCreativeHouse/Adobe Stock)

Workers in Prince Edward Island will have access to paid sick leave as of Oct. 1, 2024.

The province has amended its Employment Standards Act and workers will soon be eligible for up to three paid sick days, “depending on the length of their continuous employment with the same employer,” it said.

“With the shifting landscape on paid sick leave across the country, proclaiming a date to make the changes to our employment legislation come into effect is a step in the right direction,” said Jenn Redmond, Minister of Workforce, Advanced Learning and Population. “We know there will be more important conversations on paid sick days, and we will continue to approach them in a fair and balanced way for all parties involved.”

UFCW glad, but critical

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union said it was “glad” the province will mandate paid sick leave, but added it was “disappointed” the benefit will not be extended to unionized workers.


“Paid sick-days are a crucial protection for workers’ health and safety. They allow workers to rest and recover from illnesses without having to worry about lost wages,” it said. “Without paid sick-days, workers must suffer through their symptoms to make ends meet. Going to work sick spreads sickness to their coworkers, causing further suffering while also disrupting service and production. Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, paid sick days are necessary for every worker everywhere.”

But it said leaving union workers out of the legislation was “unnecessary union busting.”

“Unions have been fighting for paid sick-days in every workplace for as long as they’ve existed,” said Craig Walsh, UFCW Canada’s Atlantic Regional Director. “By leaving unionized workplaces out of this legislation, the provincial government is essentially punishing workers who have organized to have a democratic voice in their workplace. We’re working with the PEI Federation of Labour to get the legislation improved to provide at least 3 paid sick-days, if not more, to all workers.”

Reading the fine print

Here are the rules around sick leave in P.E.I., according to the province:

After three months continuous service with an employer, an employee is entitled to unpaid leaves of absence of up to three days for sick leave during a twelve-month period. If the employee takes three consecutive days, the employer may ask for a medical certificate.

Effective Oct. 1, 2010, employees who have more than five years of continuous service with the same employer are entitled to one day of paid sick leave and up to three days of unpaid sick leave each calendar year.

As of Oct. 1, 2024, in addition to the unpaid leave available to employees, employees will also be entitled to paid sick leave based on the following:

  • One day of paid sick leave after 12 months of continuous employment
  • Two days of paid sick leave after 24 months of continuous employment
  • Three days of paid sick leave after 36 months of continuous employment.

Once an employee is entitled to paid leave, it shall be given before unpaid leave.

For paid sick leave, employees are entitled to receive their regular rate of wages for the hours they would have worked if they had not requested the leave, or if they are a salaried employee, their regular rate of pay for a day of work.

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