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Yukon government offering rebate to employers to cover paid sick leave for workers

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April 28, 2023
By Talent Canada

(Prostock-studio/Adobe Stock)

The Yukon government is providing workers with paid sick leave of up to 40 hours annually at no cost to their employers. The benefit will also be extended to self-employed Yukoners, it said.

The Paid Sick Leave Rebate Program covers all eligible workers earning less than or equal to the average Yukon private-sector wage of $33.94 per hour.

Workers who earn below this threshold are most likely to experience financial hardship if they take unpaid sick leave, the territory said in a press release.

“Our government is proud to become the first jurisdiction in Canada to provide government-funded paid sick leave,” said Ranj Pillai, Premier of the Yukon and Minister of Economic Development. “We are confident that this will help balance the needs of employers and workers while contributing to public health and economic resilience.”


Goals of the program

The rebate program aims to:

  • Provide financial stability to employees who must take time off work because of sickness or injury;
  • Help keep people healthy in the Yukon;
  • Encourage workers to stay home if they’re feeling unwell;
  • Allow Yukon employers to provide more employee benefits without paying extra costs;
  • Strengthen Yukon businesses’ competitiveness in the labour market; and,
  • Help Yukon businesses attract and retain workers.

How it works

The new program will cover sick leave taken from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2025. It replaces the recently-expired paid sick leave program which was launched in response to COVID-19. Unlike the previous program, this new rebate covers any illness or injury that is not covered by another Act and is not restricted to those missing work due to COVID-19, the government said.

The rebate, paid to employers and self-employed Yukoners, covers up to 40 hours of sick leave for eligible employees and self-employed workers making less than or equal to $33.94 hourly and who do not have access to 40 hours of paid sick leave through their employer.

When an employee takes time off because they are sick, they will continue to be paid by their employer as if they had been at work. The employer will then apply to the Government of Yukon for a rebate to cover those costs.

Employers will be responsible for filing rebate applications. This will include documents like a copy of their business license or society registration, a copy of the employee’s most recent pay stub, and an affirmation from the employer that the employee was unable to work due to illness and that the employer is using the program in good faith.

The Yukon Department of Economic Development will be responsible for administering the program.

Workers employed by the Government of Yukon and its corporations, Government of Canada and its corporations, Yukon First Nation governments, municipalities, federally regulated industries, and employers or the self employed who already have an established paid sick leave program of 40 hours or more will not be eligible. Workers with access to less than 40 hours of paid sick leave per year will be able to take the balance of leave up to the 40 hour threshold.

The Yukon Department of Economic Development previously administered a paid sick leave rebate program for employers and the self-employed, focused on COVID-19 only, since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. An extension of that program expired on March 31, 2023.

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