Pallister government fails to ensure paid sick days for all workers in Manitoba

May 7, 2021

Statement by Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck in response to the Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave Program:

No one should be forced to choose between putting food on the table and staying home when they are sick to protect public health. The financial support program for employers announced today will not ensure all workers in Manitoba have access to paid sick days.

The program is voluntarily, not legislated like Ontario’s paid sick days program, so it will only apply to workplaces that decide to provide paid sick days. A provincial program meant to fill the gaps of the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit shouldn’t create more gaps by design. All workers should have access to paid sick days, regardless of their employer’s decisions.

We fear that, like many other employer support programs announced by this government, the intent here is to pay out as little as possible. With new and more contagious variants of COVID-19 spreading throughout Canada, there is an urgent need for government to put paid sick days in place for all workers to remove barriers to protecting public health. 

We are also concerned that the government is not providing three hours of paid vaccination leave like other western provinces, even though employers and labour have recommended it through the Labour Management Review Committee. No one should lose income for doing the right thing to protect public health.