Ontario extends paid sick leave programme until March 2023

'If an employee takes only part of a day as paid infectious disease emergency leave, the employer can – but does not have to - count it as a full day of leave'

Ontario extends paid sick leave programme until March 2023

Ontario has announced that it is extending its paid sick leave benefit for employees until March 31, 2023 – an eight-month extension from its initial expiration set this July.

According to the provincial government, the benefit's extension will ensure that workers do not lose pay if they miss work due to COVID-19.

The initiative, called the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit, provides employees up to three days of paid infections disease emergency leave for the following reasons:

  • going for a COVID‑19 test
  • staying home awaiting the results of a COVID‑19 test
  • being sick with COVID‑19
  • getting individual medical treatment for mental health reasons related to COVID‑19
  • going to get vaccinated
  • 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 specified authority
  • providing care or support to certain relatives for COVID‑19 related reasons, such as when they are:
    • sick with COVID‑19 or have symptoms of COVID‑19
    • self-isolating due to COVID‑19 on the advice of a medical practitioner or other specified authority
    • providing care or support to their child who is getting vaccinated against COVID‑19 or is experiencing side effects from the vaccine

Employees are entitled of up to $200 a day for up to three days that they miss work because of COVID-19. The extension comes as the government opens vaccine bookings for children aged six months to under five years.

Parents who will be accompanying their children to vaccine sites and will be with them should they experience side effects may be eligible for the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit.

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Reimbursement for employers

According to the provincial government, eligible employers may be compensated for the amount they paid to their employees when they took their infectious disease emergency leave pay.

"Reimbursement is only for infectious disease emergency leave pay under the ESA (Employment Standards Act). Employers are not entitled to be reimbursed for vacation pay although employees are entitled to vacation pay for the wages they earn while on the paid leave," read the provincial government's guidelines.

"If an employee takes only part of a day as paid infectious disease emergency leave, the employer can – but does not have to - count it as a full day of leave," it added.

Employers are eligible for reimbursement if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Employee used some paid leave in their employment contract
  2. Employment contract provided less pay than the ESA entitlement
  3. Contract is more restrictive than the ESA

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