The province of Nova Scotia introduced a paid sick leave program as a temporary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the program about to expire, a team of researchers from Acadia University has released a report with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives exploring the issue and the need for future legislation.
“We’re more aware of what it means now to work while sick or not having the ability to take the time away that you need to then recover and also not to infect your coworkers, your customers or maybe patients and residents in long-term care facilities,” explains Dr. Rebecca Casey. “What the data shows in the report is that our most vulnerable workers, those that are low wage, not working a permanent job, they’re the ones who don’t have access to paid sick leave.”
“We’re in a moment where we can make some real choices,” says Dr. Rachel K. Bricker, a member of the research team that included Dr. Casey, Dr. Jesse Carlson, Dr. Sarah Rudrum, and Jenn Munroe. “We can make a decision as a public and say, ‘No, we’re on the right track now. Let’s keep it going,’ and actually provide the kind of legislation that’s really going to protect our workers and in protecting workers also contribute to better public health.”
The report, "No Nova Scotian Should Have to Work Sick", is available now. You can learn more about this research in the Halifax Examiner (including commentary from Dr. Brickner) and Saltwire (including commentary from Dr. Casey).