The Saskatchewan NDP is hoping to provide paid sick leave for workers in the province.
A private members bills being proposed by NDP Labour Critic Jennifer Bowes is aimed at providing 10 days of sick leave during non-Covid times and 14 days during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
Bowes says protecting employees during a pandemic should be a business’ first priority.
“Ultimately, it is an employer’s responsibility to provide paid sick leave for their workers. It’s the decent thing to do,” said Bowes. “It’s good for business, it decreases turnover, it increases morale, and we view it as a fundamental right for workers that employers should be responsible for.”
Bowes says having paid sick leave would give more people the option to stay home and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Trades and Economic Development Minister Jeremy Harrison says the main priority of businesses should be ensuring workers get their vaccines.
“Every discussion that we have with business organizations and individual businesses, we always encourage them to make sure that their employees have that opportunity to go get vaccinated because it’s ultimately in the interest of both that business and the entire province’s economy, that as quickly as possible, employees are vaccinated when their opportunity comes up for their age category.”
Bowes says she’s hoping Saskatchewan follows other provinces like Manitoba in implementing paid sick leave.
She adds she is hopeful her bill will pass.
“I’m hopeful, I haven’t been given a lot of hope so far by this government, but I think as we see other provinces, especially conservative led governments, stepping up to the plate,” said Bowes. “I really do hope to see some leadership from our government here on this front, finally for workers.”