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End of COVID-19 isolation requirement in N.S. sparks calls for paid sick leave

Dr. Robert Strang, fields a question at a COVID-19 briefing in Halifax on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. Some Nova Scotians are calling for paid sick time as the province drops its mandatory isolation requirement for people with COVID-19. The chief medical officer announced the end of all provincial public health restrictions.

HALIFAX – Some Nova Scotians are calling for paid sick depart as a result of they are saying the federal government’s choice to elevate remaining COVID-19 well being orders will burden households who might really feel pressured to go to work whereas sick with the illness.

NDP labour critic Kendra Coombes says she’s been inundated with considerations from constituents after chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang stated earlier this week that every one pandemic restrictions can be lifted Wednesday.

You are reading: End of COVID-19 isolation requirement in N.S. sparks calls for paid sick leave

“A continuing I’m listening to is that individuals can’t afford to not work, however in addition they wish to be accountable and never unfold sickness,“ she stated in an interview Tuesday.

“And now this added safety has been taken away,” Coombes stated of the necessary isolation coverage, noting that employees who’re immunocompromised are significantly involved.

Strang on Monday stated individuals who check constructive for COVID-19 or have COVID-19-like signs ought to isolate if attainable however would not be compelled to. He stated the federal government was additionally shifting its steerage on masking and limiting PCR testing to sure high-risk teams.

When requested if he was involved that the shift might lead individuals with COVID-19 to maintain working and probably infecting others, Strang stated that’s a “long-standing subject” that predates COVID-19.

The federal government and enterprise sector, he stated, ought to determine “how we do a greater job of supporting individuals to remain residence” after they’re sick.

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Coombes says establishing everlasting paid sick days is crucial as a result of nearly all of Nova Scotians don’t receives a commission when they’re off sick. Nova Scotia’s labour requirements, in the meantime, permit employees a minimal of three days a 12 months throughout which they’ll name in sick — with out getting paid.

In a research printed in 2021, analysis institute Canadian Centre for Coverage Options discovered that 54 per cent of working Nova Scotians didn’t have paid sick time and 69 per cent of employees who made lower than $25,000 yearly had no paid sick time.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province quickly carried out a program that lined as much as 4 paid sick days per individual between Might and July 2021 after which once more between April and Might 2022.

Coombes says she wish to see this program reinstated to go together with the tip of isolation restrictions, however she says a everlasting sick-day coverage is required past COVID-19.

A spokesperson for Nova Scotia’s Division of Labour says the province isn’t contemplating extending its short-term sick-day program. “We proceed to encourage workers and employers to have discussions on how greatest to assist one another when somebody is sick,” Marla McInnis stated in an e-mail.

Christine Saulnier, Nova Scotia director with the Canadian Centre for Coverage Options, stated in an interview Tuesday the lifting of the necessary isolation order will worsen working situations for Nova Scotians.

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“Now that there is no such thing as a authorities mandate, no precautionary rules in place, the strain can be on employees to go in sick,“ she stated.

“Two and a half years right into a pandemic, we must always have realized the lesson that employees don’t deserve to enter work sick.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed July 5, 2022.

This story was produced with the monetary help of the Meta and Canadian Press Information Fellowship.

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