The provincial opposition says the Saskatchewan government should implement paid sick leave to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The matter was debated during Monday’s question period.
The provincial opposition introduced Bill 606, the Saskatchewan Employment (Paid Sick Days) Amendment Act to provide paid sick leave for workers in Saskatchewan.
Bill 606 would provide 10 paid sick days each year during non-COVID times and 14 paid sick days during the COVID-19 state of emergency. The Saskatchewan NDP also called on the government to work with businesses to implement the paid sick days in a way that does not unduly burden small and medium-sized businesses during the course of the pandemic.
Saskatoon University MLA Jennifer Bowes says that many are forced to go to work during the pandemic because not enough relief is being provided from the provincial government. “Workers are forced to go to work sick because missing work means bills go unpaid.” Bowes added “Lives would be saved if every worker could afford to stay home when they’re sick, so when will the Sask. party get on board and support paid sick leave for all Saskatchewan workers. ”
Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan responded that the Canadian Sickness Recovery Benefit will be extending into May of 2022 to help provide support those needing it.
Morgan added that the best way to help stop the spread of COVID-19 is getting the vaccine. “Our province is the first province to introduce special vaccination leave providing up to three hours of paid leave for workers to receive their vaccination shot.” He added “That’s the way we’re going to find our way through the pandemic is by having people get vaccinated.”