On April 29, 2021, the Ontario Government will introduce the COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act
, which would require employers to provide employees with up to three days of paid leave because of certain reasons related to Covid-19, including:
- going for a Covid-19 test
- staying home awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test
- being sick with Covid-19
- going to get vaccinated
- self-isolating due to Covid-19
- experiencing a side effect from a Covid-19 vaccination
- having been advised to self-isolate due to Covid-19 by an employer, medical practitioner or other authority
- taking care of a dependent who is sick with Covid-19 or has symptoms of Covid-19
If the legislation is passed, employers will be required to pay employees up to $200 a day for up to three days. The three days would not need to be taken consecutively
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If the legislation is passed, the three days of paid leave would only be available to employees who:
Doctor’s note not required
An employee may be required to provide evidence reasonable in the circumstances for entitlement to the leave. Employers cannot require an employee to provide a certificate from a doctor or nurse as evidence.
Employer reimbursement for paid leave
If the legislation is passed, eligible employers would be able to apply for a reimbursement of up to $200 per employee day taken, from the Ontario government. If the employee’s regular rate of pay is less than $200 day, the employer will only be eligible for a reimbursement of the employee’s regular rate of pay. Eligible employers would need to make their application for reimbursement within 120 days of the paid leave.
EIO Insights: How to navigate Ontario's new paid sick days mandate
Ontario Covid-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit
The Ontario Government recently passed the COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act
. Employers are now mandated to provide employees up to three days of paid leave for reasons related to COVID-19, including:
- Going for a COVID-19 test.
- Staying home while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.
- Self-isolating due to COVID-19 symptoms.
- Getting vaccinated.
- Experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19 vaccination.
- Self-isolating under advisement from an employer, medical practitioner or other authority.
- Taking care of a dependent who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19.
- The three days do not need to be taken consecutively.
The program will be administered through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and will end on Sept. 25, 2021 — the same date that the federal government's Canada Recovery and Sickness Benefit (CRSB) is set to expire.
The three days of paid leave are available to employees
Please note that employers cannot require an employee to provide a certificate from a doctor or nurse as evidence.
- Are covered by the Employment Standards Act (independent contractors or federally regulated employees do not qualify for these days).
- Do not already receive at least three paid sick days through their employer.
Employer reimbursement for paid leave
Eligible employers can apply for a reimbursement of up to $200 per employee day taken
from the WSIB. If the employee’s regular rate of pay is less than $200 day, the employer will only be eligible for a reimbursement of the employee’s regular rate of pay.
Payments will be retroactive to April 19, 2021
. Employers will be required to track these days for each employee and submit reports to receive reimbursements. Eligible employers are to make their application for reimbursement within 120 days
of the paid leave.
For longer-term absences, the Government of Canada currently offers the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB). The CRSB gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick, need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Paid sick days as part of the Putting Workers First Program
may be used to bridge the gap for employees waiting on their CRSB payments.
Information provided by EIO Solutions