(Unceded Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam territories — Vancouver, BC) Dozens of BC-based businesses have signed an open letter calling on the BC government to bring in 10 employer-paid sick days.
They’re among 70 organizations that have signed the letter, including public health advocates from Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and the Canadian Labour Congress. It will run in the Vancouver Sun on Monday and Times Colonist on Saturday.
“There are many small and medium-size employers in BC that support 10 days of employer-paid sick leave,” said Anastasia French, organiser for Living Wage for Families BC. “They know that paid sick leave means a healthy workplace and community, peace of mind for clients and customers, and a safeguard against the spread of illness. When introduced in other jurisdictions, there have been negligible impacts on the bottom line of small businesses.”
The open letter comes as a multilingual campaign for 10 days culminates in a Day of Action on Monday, October 25, with events planned in Victoria, Burnaby and Surrey to coincide with the last day of government consultations on permanent paid sick leave. Recent public opinion polling from Research Co. shows nearly nine-in-ten British Columbians believe businesses should provide paid sick leave, with 80% of British Columbians supporting at least 10 days per year. The poll shows this support is consistent across the political spectrum, with BC Liberal, BC Green and BC NDP supporters aligned.
“In addition to helping avoid the economic devastation from large-scale shutdowns during pandemics, research shows that paid sick days reduce employee turnover and workplace injuries and increase worker productivity,” added Laird Cronk, President of the BC Federation of Labour. “There’s a reason employer-paid sick leave is the norm across the OECD, in countries like New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Sweden.”