COVID-19 undoubtedly put a gleaming spotlight on an overlooked employer benefit - paid sick leave. While slightly different than short term disability, this benefit is exactly what it means - receiving wages while you are off work recovering from an illness. In Ontario most employees have the right to take up to three days of unpaid job-protected leave each year due to a personal illness, injury or medical emergency. However the key point here is that employers aren't mandated to pay for this time off. This puts employees in a compromising situation - risk losing money for the family or get colleagues sick in the workplace.
There has been some effort from the government to close this gap. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will provide $500 a week for up to two weeks for workers who do not have access to paid sick leave through their employer, and who must take time off because they are sick or self-isolating due to COVID-19. However this relief is only COVID related and it falls flat as a permanent solution.
With more pressure on employers to help close this gap, we explore several strategies that organizations can use to fund paid sick leave in a cost-conscious manner. If you would like to discuss these options for your business please reach out to your advisor or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.