COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit

April 28, 2021

The Minister of Labour, Monte McNaughton, has announced a new a temporary paid sick leave program entitled “COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit,” to be brought in through the COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021. Members should review the provincial website which outlines how the program works, employer responsibilities and WSIB reimbursement.

This program will provide employees up to 3 days of paid leave for reasons related to COVID-19. Reasons for utilizing the leave include:

  • going for a COVID-19 test
  • staying home awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test
  • being sick with COVID-19
  • going to get vaccinated
  • experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19 vaccination
  • having been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by an employer, medical practitioner or other authority
  • taking care of a dependent who is:
    • sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19
    • self-isolating due to COVID-19

 

Employer reimbursement for paid leave

Eligible employers would be able to apply for a reimbursement of up to $200 per employee day taken, from the province. If the employee’s regular rate of pay is less than $200 day, the employer will only be eligible for a reimbursement of the employee’s regular rate of pay. Eligible employers would need to make their application for reimbursement to the WSIB within 120 days of the paid leave. More information on how employers can apply will be available soon.

 

Key Aspects of the Program.

  • The three days can be taken consecutively or individually.
  • If employees need more sick leave days beyond the three provided by the provincial government, they must apply to transfer to the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
  • Independent contractors/federally regulated employees are not eligible for this new provincial program; however, they are eligible for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
  • Both full-time and part-time workers are eligible for this program.
  • The program will be administered by the WSIB.
  • An employee may be required to provide evidence reasonable in the circumstances for entitlement to the leave. Employers cannot require an employee to provide a certificate from a doctor or nurse as evidence.

 

We know this will have significant impacts on members’ businesses and operations, particularly when it comes to scheduling. We will share details with how to apply for and navigate the reimbursement process.