Who should be responsible for paying for an employee’s sick leave? And what should that look like?
These are a few of the questions posed to Yukon residents and business owners as the territory looks at implementing a permanent paid sick leave program.
While some workers have paid sick leave available through their employment benefits, many others don’t – an issue that has come to light over the past 20 months during the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made the need for paid sick leave clearer than ever,” notes Emily Tredger, MLA for Whitehorse Centre. “When people have to choose between losing wages and going to work sick, it’s not safe for workers and it’s not safe for the public. A paid sick leave program will help keep all Yukoners safe.”
The independent Making Work Safe Panel includes individuals brought together under the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the Yukon Liberal Government and the Yukon NDP, and others representing workers and employers. Following a full consultation through LetsTalkYukon.ca, supported by Narrative Consulting as an impartial third party, the panel will make recommendations to the Yukon government by Jan. 31.
“This is an important engagement and I encourage Yukoners to provide their feedback,” says Richard Mostyn, Minister of Community Services. “Paid sick leave is not currently part of the Yukon’s Employment Standards Act and before changes to this act are considered, we need to know how Yukoners feel about this issue. If you are currently an employer or worker in the territory, please take a moment to participate in this engagement.”
Why paid sick leave matters
Without adequate sick leave, many workers struggle when deciding whether they should go to work sick or stay home – missing even a few days of work can lead to significant hardship on workers and their families, eating into their budget for food, heating and other necessities. Others fear losing their job if they take leave to recover.
At the same time, medical professionals agree that patients who stay home when sick get well quicker, and help limit the spread of infectious illnesses.
On the business front, offering paid sick days reduces employee turnover, which saves on recruitment and training costs, and prevents employees from passing illnesses to co-workers and customers.
Have your say today:
- Everyone in the Yukon is urged to share feedback, ideas and diverse perspectives through the initiative’s digital engagement space, LetsTalkYukon.ca. Public consultation will be open through Dec. 10, 2021.
- On the Permanent Paid Sick Leave page, you can take the worker or employer survey, participate in a quick poll and share your ideas.
- Share the site with your colleagues, members, friends and others so as many voices as possible from across Yukon can be heard.
- For those with limited internet access, paper copies of the survey are available at the Government of Yukon main administration building at 2071 2nd Ave. in Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 1B2. Mail the completed survey to the same address and once received, Narrative Consulting will manually enter these survey responses
Once the surveys, comments and ideas have been reviewed, a summary will be shared with the public in mid-January. To be notified when the summary is published, the public is encouraged to click ‘subscribe’ on the Paid Sick Leave page.
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