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

Suspect sought in alleged indecent act in South Surrey

Police say incident occurred near 13 Avenue and 131 Street

‘Pods’ set up at Surrey homeless centre

Temporary shelter set up in April to help stop the spread of COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

New Serpentine rail bridge completed in Cloverdale-Sullivan

$3 million crossing replacement marks first of 13 flood-mitigation projects

Surrey RCMP sees increase in reported robberies through ‘marketplace apps’

Police say there have been 13 reported incidents so far this year, compared to 5 in 2019

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

IHIT names homicide victim found in the Fraser Canyon this week

Police asking for tips into the suspicious death of 29-year-old Alicia Berg

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read

l -->