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Manitoba to amend employment standards for pandemic sick leave, premier says ‘common sense’ needed

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba announces legislation amendments to allow protected job leave amid pandemic' Coronavirus: Manitoba announces legislation amendments to allow protected job leave amid pandemic
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced on Monday that the province would become the first to introduce legislation that will allow more workers to take a protected leave from their job amid the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for new federal benefits – Oct 26, 2020

Premier Brian Pallister had some stern words for Manitobans who continue to get together groups as his government moves to help more workers take protected leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier in the day Monday the provincial government said it would be introducing amendments to the Employment Standards Code that will allow more Manitoba workers to take protected leave due and apply for federal benefits to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Manitoba premier says agenda to include paid sick leave for those with coronavirus

At a press conference announcing the changes Monday afternoon, Pallister said it is maddening that people are still socializing in groups as the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to surge.

“Grow up and stop going out there and giving people COVID,” Pallister said.

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Pallister cautioned the province will remain under restrictions as long as there are people making extremely risky decisions like holding house parties or going out when they are symptomatic.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba premier expresses ‘growing frustration’ at people not following COVID-19 restrictions' Coronavirus: Manitoba premier expresses ‘growing frustration’ at people not following COVID-19 restrictions
Coronavirus: Manitoba premier expresses ‘growing frustration’ at people not following COVID-19 restrictions – Oct 26, 2020

“These are not rocket-science decisions people need to make, this is common sense,” the premier said.

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“I am asking the people of Manitoba, who in very, very small number are disrespecting one another through their behaviors, to smarten up.”

As for the changes to the Employment Standards Code, Pallister said the province has consulted with the Labour Management Review Committee and the Retail Council of Canada on the proposed legislation.

Read more: New COVID-19 sickness benefit unlikely to go to people ill from virus, PBO predicts

“Manitoba has led the way on advocating for a federal paid sick leave program, and we’ll be the first province to move forward with introducing important legislative changes so more Manitobans can access these new federal benefits,” said Pallister in a release.

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“Our first priority is protecting the health and well-being of all Manitobans, and this legislation would save workers from making the difficult decision whether to earn a paycheque or stay home while sick.”

The federal program came into effect Sept. 27 and the province says Manitoba’s legislation would be retroactive to that date.

–With files from the Canadian Press

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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