Updates to the COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit
With increasing COVID-19 numbers, the Ford government has confirmed that Ontario’s program for paid sick days related to COVID-19, otherwise known as the COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit, will be extended until July 31st of 2022, as opposed to expiring at the end of this calendar year. The extension to this program was confirmed on Tuesday, December 7th.
The sick day program requires employers to give all of their employees up to 3 paid days off for a range of reasons related to the pandemic.
The government has also suggested that further extensions to the program will continue so long as the pandemic is ongoing. Nevertheless, even with this extension, the maximum number of days per employee remains currently unchanged at 3.
How the program works
If you are an “employee” as defined under the Employment Standards Act and you do not already receive paid sick time through your employer, you can receive up to 3 days off work, for up to $200/day, in order to:
- get a COVID-19 test
- await results of a COVID-19 test while staying home
- recover from COVID-19
- get vaccinated against COVID-19
- recover from a COVID-19 vaccination side effect
- self-isolate due to COVID-19 (under direction from an employer, medical practitioner, or other authority)
- care for a dependent who is sick with COVID-19 or self-isolating due to COVID-19
Employees do not have to take the 3 days off consecutively, and do not need to provide a doctor’s note.
By way of the program, the government reimburses employers who do not usually give their workers sick pay, with up to $200 per employee per day.
How we can help
We know that for employees and employers, navigating the pandemic amid shifting regulations and benefits can feel overwhelming. If you have questions about COVID-19 benefit eligibility, employee rights, or employer obligations, contact our intake team or give our free employment law helpline a call at 613-231-8334.