The Ford government is extending its temporary pandemic coverage of three paid sick days until March of 2023.
It may be enough to cover one bout with COVID-19 for eligible workers but the benefits dry up quickly if you catch the virus a second time.
However, keeping the cap at three days doesn’t sit well with the Kingston and District Labour Council.
“This three days is strictly for COVID-related illnesses and nobody who has COVID is sick for only three days, which means workers are going to be, again, required to show up to work sick,” said labour council treasurer Jordan Morelli.
Kingston’s Liberal member of provincial parliament agrees that three days isn’t enough but says he’s glad the extension happened.
Hsu also raised the issue of not being able to claim the benefit more than once.
He says he’d hoped the renewal would’ve included a provision for people who test positive a second time.
“It would’ve been a little bit better if the government had allowed people who get infected by COVID a second time within a year, which, I’ve heard several cases of that, to allow them to qualify for the paid sick leave as well,” he added.
Morelli added that the sick-day program should be broader.
“It’s just really wrong-headed. We need at least 10 paid sick days and it shouldn’t be limited to COVID, it should be a broader program,” added Morelli.
According to the provincial government, 470,000 workers have claimed a COVID-19 sick day, most of whom were in the Toronto area, at a total cost of approximately $189 million.