B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCFED

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says president Laird Cronk

Advocates are calling upon the provincial government to invest in a paid sick leave policy for British Columbians after its newly released budget failed to include one.

“In this time of variants and rising cases, ensuring worker safety with paid sick leave is imperative,” said president Laird Cronk of the British Columbia Federation of Labour, representing more than 500,000 employees in both the public and private sector.

Its members include teachers, workers in health care, community social services, trades and others employed in B.C.

“We will continue to advocate for the over half of B.C. workers and nearly 90 per cent of low-wage workers that don’t have paid leave and are at higher risk of exposure,” Cronk said.

Budget 2021, released Tuesday (April 20), pledged a total of $800 million in investments to help B.C. businesses regain their footing following the COVID-19 pandemic.

It included $100 million in tourism funding to help attractions better market themselves and retool to welcome visitors once travel bans are lifted.

RELATED: B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery

What about the low-income workers who staff these sites? The president is asking.

“For that recovery to be equitable, for it to be meaningful to working people, requires supports and re-hiring guarantees for workers, not just business,” Cronk said.

He said low-income workers, a majority of whom are women, are being ”hit hard” by COVID-19 – they are also some of the least likely to have the financial resources to miss work.

Currently, the province makes workers eligible for up to three days of unpaid leave each year for personal illness or injury.

“The budget fails to ensure paid sick days and remove the untenable decision for workers between staying home sick and paying the bills during a pandemic,” Cronk said.

Leftover from the budget is $8 billion in contingencies – which B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson said Tuesday could be used to address any immediate needs that arise during the pandemic.

The federation is urging the province to use some of those funds to deliver on paid sick days.

RELATED: B.C. restaurants to get COVID-19 ‘circuit breaker’ grant extension



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

2021 B.C. BudgetEmploymentMigrant Workers

Just Posted

Allayah Yoli Thomas had recently turned 12 years old when she died of a suspected drug overdose April 15. (Courtesy of Adriana Londono)
Suspected overdose death of Saanich girl, 12, speaks to lack of supports, says mom

Allayah Yoli Thomas was found dead by her friend the morning of April 15

The Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors in July 2021. (Malahat SkyWalk photo)
Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors this July

Highly anticipated attraction will take guests 250m above sea level

Port Alberni RCMP are investigating a homicide on Third Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
RCMP investigating homicide in Port Alberni apartment

Investigators are still trying to determine the identity of the deceased

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested for allegedly spitting, yelling anti-Asian racial slurs at a mother and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

Victoria police said Wednesday that they continue to look for Belinda Ann Cameron, who was last seen on May 5, 2005. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police still looking for Belinda Cameron who was last seen 16 years ago

Cameron was reported missing on June 4, 2005, and her case is deemed suspicious

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

James Taylor, a Saanich resident and member of the Curve Lake First Nation, walked all over Greater Victoria on May 5 in honour of Red Dress Day and the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Devon Bidal/News staff)
Indigenous man walks Greater Victoria to honour missing and murdered women and girls

James Taylor’s march among many ways Islanders marked Red Dress Day

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,000 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

B.C. average home price and sales level to 2023, showing steep drop in sales expected next year. (Central 1)
Forecast calls for B.C. home sales to ‘explode,’ then drop off

Average price to rise another 10% in 2021, credit unions say

Illegal goods seized in the simultaneous April 23 busts in Saanich and Sooke. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
RCMP drug busts net trucks, cocaine, cash and Hells Angels gear

Simultaneous searches coordinated between West Shore, Saanich and Sooke police

Members of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. (File photo)
B.C.-wide #DayOfMusic to feature 100-plus free virtual concerts May 15

‘Our colleagues across the province have figured out new ways to perform and connect,’ VSO boss says

Two passengers were recently fined thousands of dollars after they faked their pre-flight COVID-19 test results. (Paul Clarke/Black Press)
2 passengers in Canada fined thousands for faking pre-flight COVID-19 tests

The government issued a warning Thursday to others thinking of doing the same – do it and you’ll be ordered to pay

The Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre on Wilkinson Road in Saanich. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police watchdog investigating after man found unresponsive at Saanich jail

Man was in Victoria police custody the day before being found

Victoria police is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying this suspect after they allegedly robbed a Douglas Street bank on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek identity of suspect who allegedly robbed Victoria bank

Officers were called to a bank in the 1000-block of Douglas Street just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday

Most Read