As the second wave of the pandemic hits Canada more and more workers are getting sick. But far too many workers don’t have paid sick days. 58% of all workers in Canada don’t have access to any paid sick days and for workers making $25,000 or less that number jumps to 70%. The lack of access to paid sick days disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous, workers of colour and women workers. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is far from adequate and is the wrong approach to addressing the health of workers and the public. An effective response to the pandemic is for the government to legislate employer-paid sick days. This is a question of good public health policy as well as a matter of racial and gender justice. Every worker during and after the pandemic should be able to access paid sick days. This is a draft motion you can put forward at your union or other organization calling on the government to legislate employer-paid sick days for all.
Whereas eleven months into a global pandemic that has killed thousands, no government in Canada has legislated adequate, employer-paid sick days; and
Whereas the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is temporary, inaccessible and not of use for the crucial first few days of an illness;
Whereas had paid sick day legislation been in place before the global pandemic, lives would have been saved because infection rates would have been reduced; and
Whereas the lack of legislated paid sick days has especially hurt Black, Indigenous, workers of colour and women workers who are over-represented in frontline jobs, with low pay, few benefits, and without the ability to work from home;
Be it resolved that the [INSERT ORGANIZATION] supports the Decent Work and Health Network call for seven (7) permanent, paid sick days for all workers and an additional fourteen (14) days during public health outbreaks;
BIRT the [INSERT ORGANIZATION] endorse the principles outlined by the Decent Work and Health Network:
- Universal: Available to all workers regardless of workplace size, type of work, or immigration status. Legislated, with no exemptions.
- Paid: Fully paid to ensure workers are not financially penalized for following public health advice.
- Adequate: At least seven (7) paid sick days provided on a permanent basis, with an additional 14 paid sick days during public health emergencies.
- Permanent: Available during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
- Accessible: No barriers to access. Prohibit employers from requiring sick notes; ensure no disruption of income or unnecessary applications; and provide sufficiently flexible leave that reflects the reality of workers’ lives, healthcare needs, and caregiving responsibilities.
BIRT the [INSERT ORGANIZATION] oppose further public subsidies for corporations like Amazon, Walmart, and Loblaws that are profiting from the pandemic and who should be implementing employer-paid sick days and raising wages;
BIRT the [INSERT ORGANIZATION] actively lobby provincial and federal government representatives to introduce and pass paid sick days legislation;
BIRT the [INSERT ORGANIZATION] host a phone zap event and other similar events that encourage members to be involved in campaign for paid sick days.
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