Changes Made to Paid Sick Leave for British Columbia Employees

Global HR

​On Jan. 1, the British Columbia government introduced a new paid sick leave as an amendment to the British Columbia Employment Standards Act. As set out in a previous article, the new provisions to the act provided for five days of paid sick leave per employment year for employees who have completed 90 consecutive days of employment.

Since the leave took effect, employers have struggled with its implementation because the entitlement followed the “employment year” rather than the “calendar year.” This necessarily meant that employers would have a separate date for each employee based on their start date of employment.

On March 28, the British Columbia government announced that it was amending the act to reference the “calendar year” rather than the “employment year.” The bill to amend the act was passed on March 30 and took effect the following day.

In the same bill, the British Columbia government also removed a provision that allowed for the provisions of a collective agreement to replace the entitlement to paid sick leave. This amendment ensures that all employees, regardless of whether they are governed by a collective agreement that has alternative sick leave provisions, are entitled to the five days of paid sick leave.

The new amendments to the paid sick leave provisions will simplify the process of administering the sick leave for all British Columbia employers. In addition, the amendments will relieve many employers of onerous revisions to existing sick leave policies. 

Dianne Rideout is an attorney with McMillan LLP in Vancouver, British Columbia. © 2022 McMillan LLP. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission of Lexology.

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