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Paid Sick Leave Program extended into May

Sick days taken between April 1 and May 7 may now be eligible for reimbursement

The province has extended its Paid Sick Leave Program into next month.

It had been scheduled to end on March 31, but now sick days taken between April 1 and May 7 may be eligible for reimbursement.

That includes workers who miss less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work time in a one-week period because they need to self-isolate, are experiencing symptoms, or getting tested. Those getting a vaccine or booster shot may also qualify.

The program covers wages for employees and self-employed workers, up to a maximum of $20 per hour or $160 per day.

The maximum payment per worker is $640, and anyone who already has hit that mark will not be eligible for more during the extended period.

Reimbursement can be sent as quickly as within five business days of an application submission.

May 7 is also when Canada's Sickness Recovery Benefit is scheduled to end, which is available to employees and self-employed workers who have missed 50 per cent or more of their scheduled work week as a result of COVID-19.

"I am actively engaged in conversations with labour ministers across Canada about a permanent paid sick leave program," said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration in a news release. 

"In the meantime, while COVID is still very active in our communities, we want to make sure Nova Scotians can access this temporary program, which people have told us has been helpful in keeping COVID out of the workplace."

NDP Leader Gary Burrill said he's happy with the extension, but would like to see permanent paid sick days added to the Labour Standards Code in Nova Scotia.

"People in Nova Scotia deserve the security of knowing that when they are sick, they can afford to stay home," he said in a news release.

When the province's sick leave program first launched last year, it covered about 4,000 sick days from May 10 to July 31, paying out around $600,000.  The total cost, including administration, was just under $1 million.


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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