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

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Tammy Wood earns top prize on Food Network’s ‘Wall of Chefs’

Former MasterChef contestant takes home $10,000 prize, beats out three other contenders

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

Chilliwack Agriculture Tour goes virtual during pandemic

Rather than bus tourists to local farms, tour stops will be posted on Facebook and Instagram

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read