• BC Paid Sick Leave: What Businesses are Saying

    From the BC Chamber of Commerce:

    Thank you for completing the B.C. Paid Sick Leave Impact Survey that ran from December 8 to December 14, 2021. With your support, we collected over 1,000 responses from businesses of all sizes to help us understand the impact of the new Paid Sick Leave program for employees in B.C. on businesses across the province. Click here to access the full reports.

    Businesses continue to be impacted by the pandemic and government policy changes. Despite our universal desire to be through these challenging times, we are not there yet. Now is not the time to add additional burdens to small- and medium-sized businesses with costs they cannot afford. We are continuously advocating directly to government to ensure they are aware of the impacts their decisions are having on businesses. We will continue to communicate with government officials to advance the interests of our members as we continue to navigate through this pandemic together. 

    Here’s What You Told Us:
    Of the 1,024 businesses that completed the survey, 79% said the new mandatory sick leave regulation will impact their business. Over half (55%) of those impacted do not expect to be able to generate additional revenue to absorb the costs – it will go against their bottom line and reduce margins. Nearly half (46%) will be increasing their prices to pay for the costs, and 28% expect they may need to reduce the number of employees they have on their payroll. Of the businesses (21%) who do not expect to be impacted – 55% already offer sick leave and 30% are independent contractors and do not qualify for sick leave. However, businesses did note some benefits of the program, including an increase in employee safety (23%) and an increase in employee morale (20%).

    When asked what businesses need to help make implementation of the program easier, they requested:

    1. Clarity around who qualifies. There were numerous requests to remove part time and casual employees from the program. If they can’t be removed, they should have different calculations on sick days based on their days worked or have other limitations, similar to vacation days.
    2. Clarity around timing. Transitioning to five days of sick pay overtime, rather than immediately implementing it on January 1, 2022, would make it easier on businesses. Or even better, a delay of implementation for the businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic to give them a chance to recover. 
    3. Clarity on policies and what qualifies as a sick day. More resources from the province to educate both employers and employees on the new benefits and guidelines to help avoid abuse of sick days.
    4. Providing cost support or business relief measures to share the financial burden. Examples included coverage through the EI program or other support programs provided through the government or WorkSafe BC, or even through tax deductions. Businesses want to be able to claim back the costs to give more time to recover from COVID-19, and be able to find staff in the already difficult labour market.
    You can view the full reports here.


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