New Democrats Push for Paid Sick Days

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ontario legislature

QUEEN’S PARK — A vote on NDP MPP Peggy Sattler’s Stay Home if You Are Sick Act will take place Monday at the Ontario legislature, and the Official Opposition NDP will request all-party support for the legislation to be fast-tracked to have its final vote at the same time, potentially becoming law immediately.

Sattler’s Stay Home if You Are Sick Act would give workers 14 government-paid days during a pandemic, on top of permanent paid sick days which would be embedded in employment law.

“We need to do everything in our power to prevent a longer, deeper, deadlier third wave, driven by the variants. We know paid sick days are critical to beat this virus, and end the cycle of painful lockdowns in our province,” said Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath. “Instead of putting money first, Doug Ford can make people’s health the priority by giving workers the protection they need and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Sattler (London West) introduced the Stay Home if You Are Sick Act in 2020. Sattler will move a unanimous consent motion Monday for all-party support to hold the third and final vote immediately following the regularly-scheduled second vote Monday morning. That would mean paid sick days could be in place for workers this week.

“No worker should be forced to choose between going to work sick or taking a pay cut. Workers without paid sick days are the people we have relied on most during the pandemic. They have cared for our seniors, cleaned our buildings, made our meals, and bagged our groceries. We know this legislation will save lives, and help to end this pandemic,” said Sattler.

“Leaders from every corner of our province, including medical officers of health, public health experts, mayors and municipalities – together with the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce – have spoken loudly and clearly: we need paid sick days now. There is no excuse for Doug Ford and his PC MPPs to keep blocking this legislation.”

An estimated 60 per cent of Ontarians do not have permanent paid sick days, and that number is much higher among low-income workers, in sectors like food services, hospitality and retail, and among racialized or immigrant people.