Can I get paid sick days if I have COVID-19?
Ontario has a new program for paid sick days. This means that employees can take up to 3 paid days off if they’re sick with COVID-19.
These sick days are only for employees. If you’re self-employed or an independent contractor, you don’t qualify for them. And you can’t take them if you already have paid sick days from your employer.
The most you can get paid is $200 a day. And these paid sick days apply from now until September 25, 2021.
Reasons for taking the sick days
You can take these sick days if you have to miss work because:
- you have COVID-19,
- you’re being monitored for COVID-19,
- you have to isolate or quarantine, or
- your employer sent you home because you might have COVID-19.
You can also take them if you have to care for a family member and one of the reasons above applies to them.
What you need to do to take these days off
Your employer pays you for these sick days. You don’t apply to the government for them. All you need to do is tell your employer.
Your employer then applies for a refund from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
Your employer can ask for “reasonable” evidence, like a copy of your COVID test or a quarantine order. But they can’t force you to get a note from your doctor.
If you need more time off
COVID-19 infections normally last for several weeks. If you need more than 3 days off, you can also use the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. This lets you take time off work that’s unpaid.
You can take the paid days off before you take the unpaid days off.
Getting help if your employer won’t pay
The Employment Standards Act now says that your employer must pay you for these sick days. If they refuse to do this, they’re breaking the law.
If this happens, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Labour.