BC Chamber of Commerce Statement on Paid Sick Days

In response to the provincial government’s introduction of permanent paid sick days, Fiona Famulak, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement:

“It is important to make sure employees are safe and healthy. Reducing transmission of illness in the workplace is a benefit to both individuals and their employers.

“Our concern with today’s announcement is that unlike the temporary paid sick days program, the cost for permanent paid sick leave will be born solely by employers. As with any cost increase, this will create challenges for some small businesses at a particularly difficult time when they are still trying to recover from the pandemic and can least afford the additional burden.

“Let’s be clear. While many businesses have been resilient through this pandemic, it doesn’t mean they are thriving. They are emotionally and financially exhausted. The added cost of the permanent paid sick leave program is on top of a number of cost increases that businesses have needed to shoulder in the last few years, that include the introduction of the employer health tax, rising property taxes, and costs associated with implementing safety measures for the pandemic. Today’s announcement is a gut punch to the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of B.C. businesses.

“We have called, and continue to call, on the B.C. government to find ways to reduce costs for B.C. businesses, the economic backbone of this province.

“Meantime, there are details that employers will need to know in advance of the implementation of permanent paid sick days on January 1, 2022, and we look forward to understanding more in the coming days and weeks.”