October 25, 2023
New data released in a report by Statistics Canada today shows that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the number of Manitoba workers with access to paid sick days at work has increased by less than one percentage point. This report shows that there is a clear need for the Government of Manitoba to act on ensuring paid sick days for all workers, announced Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour.
“Far too many workers who are sick face the impossible choice between going to work to put food on the table and protecting public health by staying home because they don’t have paid sick days on the job,” said Rebeck. “As we enter the time of year where Manitobans tend to get sick with influenza and other contagious diseases, there is an urgent need for government to put paid sick days in place for all workers.”
The Statistics Canada report shows that since 2020, the percentage of Manitoba workers with access to paid sick days on the job has gone from 62.4 per cent to 63.3 per cent, which is below the national provincial average of 64.2. After mandating paid sick days, British Columbia has seen an increase of 12 percentage points over the same time period.
“The evidence is clear that while we all know how important it is for people to stay home if they are sick to protect the health of their coworkers, employers will not act on their own to give workers the economic security to do so,” said Rebeck. “It is up to government to act.”
Rebeck noted that last year the federal government mandated at least 10 paid sick days for all federally-regulated workers. He added that it is time for Manitoba to follow the federal government’s lead and ensure all workers have access to at least 10 paid sick days on the job.
The Statistics Canada report titled ‘Employee paid sick leave coverage in Canada, 1995 to 2022’ by Samuel MacIsaac and René Morissette can be found here: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/36-28-0001/2023010/article/00001-eng.htm.