Ontario extending 3-day pandemic sick leave program to end of 2021

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A temporary sick leave program for Ontario workers has been extended until the end of this year.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton announced Tuesday that the pandemic program, which is set to expire on Sept. 25, would be extended to Dec. 31.

He said the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant prompted the move, to give more time for people to get vaccinated and support infected workers.

The province introduced three paid days of sick leave in April to accommodate self-isolation requirements during the pandemic, reimbursing employers up to $200 per day for what they pay out.

the temporary program offers:

  • Three paid sick days, paying up to $200 per day for workers who are sick, have symptoms, have a mental health issue or need to be vaccinated
  • Retroactive to April 19
  • Do not need to be taken consecutively and no sick note is required

It would be administered through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and employers will be reimbursed in full, the province says. The program would end in September.

Critics, however, have panned the policy as insufficient to effectively curb the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces.

Opposition parties noted at the time that three days falls short of the 10 to 14 days health officials recommend for self-isolation when infected with COVID-19.

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