HALIFAX: To slow the spread of COVID-19, Nova Scotians are asked to stay home from work if they’re sick.
Applications for the Province’s COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program open Monday, January 10, at 1 p.m. for people who cannot work remotely and must stay home due to COVID-19.
“We know people want to do the right thing by staying home if they’re sick,” said Premier Tim Houston. “And we also know many workers face financial barriers that stand in the way of that decision.
“The paid sick leave program will help to remove those barriers. Workers should not have to lose pay for making a responsible decision that protects their co-workers and others.”
The program is open to employers and self-employed workers. It is consistent with the previous Nova Scotia COVID-19 Sick Leave Program and covers up to four sick leave days for employees, including self-employed workers, up to a maximum of $20 per hour or $160 per day. The maximum payment over the 15-week period is $640 per worker.
Eligible businesses that continue to pay their employees during their leave, and self-employed workers who miss time, may be reimbursed as quickly as five business days from their application.
The program covers workers who miss less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work time in a one-week period (for example, 15 hours or less in a scheduled 32-hour work week) who need to self-isolate due to exposure, close contact, or because they are experiencing symptoms or getting tested. They may also qualify if employees are going to a vaccine or booster appointment.
“This is how we keep each other safe and how we keep our doors open for business,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “We are encouraging employers to access this voluntary program to support employees when they need to self-isolate, get tested and attend vaccination appointments.”
The program will be retroactive to include sick days starting December 20, 2021, and will continue until March 31, 2022.
The relaunch of Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program was announced on December 22, 2021.
The Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration worked to reopen this voluntary program with assistance from the Department of Health and Wellness to ensure eligibility requirements align with current epidemiology and public health advice.
The program complements the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, 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. The federal program runs until May 2022.
— the program originally launched May 26, 2021, and covered sick days from May 10 to July 31, 2021
— about $600,000 was paid out to Nova Scotians and 4,000 sick days were covered
— the total program cost, including administration, was just under $1 million
More information, including details on eligibility requirements, is available at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/paid-sick-leave-program/