Pandemic 'opened our eyes' to importance of sick leave, says minister

·1 min read
Consultations will be necessary before any changes are made, says Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay. (Randy McAndrew/CBC - image credit)
Consultations will be necessary before any changes are made, says Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay. (Randy McAndrew/CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay says it's time for a conversation around expanding sick leave in the province.

Currently P.E.I. is one of only two provinces that requires it. Under the Employment Standards Act, employers are required to provide one sick day per year to employees who've been with them for five years.

"This is something that has been discussed over the last four or five years, but I think COVID really opened our eyes to the importance of it," said MacKay.

"But there hasn't really been a lot of research done of what the impacts could be to the business community."

There would have to be some consultation before any changes are made, he said.

While MacKay promised consultations on expanding sick leave, he said right now isn't the time to increase the amount businesses have to provide. With the pandemic, he said, many of them are already hanging on by a thread.

The province says there's been little uptake so far from a million-dollar COVID-19 special leave fund that started March 1. That funding is available to Islanders who don't have sick pay through their employer, and who don't qualify for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.

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