The Ontario government is extending its Worker Income Protection Benefit program, which provides paid sick days, until July 31, 2022 to ensure employees do not lose pay if they need to miss work for reasons related to COVID-19.
Employees can continue to access this paid leave to get tested, vaccinated, self-isolate, or care for a family member.
Extending the COVID-19 paid leave program will help more workers take time off to get their booster shots and help more parents take time to get their children vaccinated, said the province. According to a statement from the Ministry of Labour, the program has helped over 235,000 people stay safe without worrying about losing pay. Over 515,000 paid leave days have been taken by employees since the entitlement was introduced. The average number of days being claimed per employee is two.
To support employers, the Ontario government will continue reimbursing them for providing this support to their workers.
The province is also extending temporary changes to the Employment Standards Act that prevent temporary layoffs of non-unionized employees from becoming unwanted terminations, which can trigger payments and force businesses to close. This measure will now be extended until July 30, 2022.
Ontario first introduced paid COVID-19 days in April 2021 as part of the COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021.
With the extension of the program until July 31, 2022, employers will have 120 days after their employees are paid to submit their application to the Worker Income Protection Benefit Program.
Employers and workers can call the program’s dedicated hotline at 1-888-999-2248 or visit Ontario.ca/COVIDworkerbenefit to get more information and updates about Ontario’s paid sick days.