The Retail Action Network says the impacts of COVID-19 has illuminated the instability of working in the retail and hospitality industry. (Unsplash)

B.C. worker advocate group calls for more sick days, protected medical leave

COVID-19 highlights need for changes to workers legislation: Retail Action Network

With thousands laid off or out of work, a B.C. workers’ rights group says the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the need to have paid sick days enshrined in the Employment Standards Act.

The Retail Action Network is calling for a number of changes to be introduced as law including 14 paid sick days without a doctor’s note needed, protected medical leave of up to 52 weeks and the elimination of the three-month probationary period for new employees.

The network says any temporary measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic should remain in place permanently.

READ MORE COVID-19 COVERAGE HERE

On March 23, the province announced a plan to protect workers during the COVID-19 crisis, which has shut down businesses and offices across the country under orders to limit physical proximity to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

That plan saw two major changes to worker legislation; the first allowing workers to take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for COVID-19-related reasons. The other change was permanent – providing three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who can’t work because of illness or injury.

The Retail Action Network says those measures fail to recognize the realities of working in the retail or hospitality industry, realities illuminated by the ongoing public health crisis.

“The overwhelming impacts of COVID-19 are falling on the shoulders of working-class people. The need for a bare minimum of 14 days of paid sick and emergency leave is more apparent than ever before,” said a statement from Andreea Micu of the Retail Action Network. “The recent amendment that allows for three unpaid sick days per calendar is wildly insufficient, and puts workers in an unhealthy position.”

The Retail Action Network also calls for immediate investigations into any B.C. business that hasn’t issued any worker a final paycheque.

The federal government has introduced a number of relief measures to help workers impacted by the pandemic, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which provides $2,000 per month for up to four months for those who have lost income due to coronavirus.

READ ALSO: How to apply for employment insurance

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Over Zoom, Armstrong council seeks new meeting space

BRIEFS: Centennial Auditorium under consideration as council looks to resume open meetings

Fundraiser launched for Enderby drive-in

Vernon resident seeks to raise $20K to save Starlight Drive-In

Duck nests at Vernon drive-thru

Mother has hatched four ducklings just inches from the steady stream of vehicles

North and Central Okanagan on flood watch

Kalamalka Lake users are asked to take measure to reduce the risk… Continue reading

VIDEO: Flowers stolen from Vernon distillery

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery captured surveillance footage of the thief in a black car

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

Houseboat company partly owned by Shuswap MLA withdraws controversial ad

The ad welcomed houseboaters from other provinces, contradicting anti COVID-19 measures.

Squabble between campers in North Shuswap leads to bear spraying

An argument over late night partying escalated into a fight which led to one person being sprayed

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Penticton may soon allow drinking alcohol in some public places

Trying to inconspicuously drink on the beach could become a thing of the past

Unique ‘the Wedge’ development makes way back to Kelowna council

Council initially deferred its decision on the project in March

Most Read