Wallaceburg, Ontario

Perhaps A Good Compromise on Sick Pay

Perhaps A Good Compromise on Sick Pay

Sick pay is being begged for by the essential workers, by public health advocates, and by opposition government. But the reality is that, while to fight the threat of COVID taking down our health care system it will likely become a permanent benefit. There are very legitimate opposing reasons not to implement this as a fully paid day off. One great reason is they are essentially unscheduled vacations. If you want to know what is awful for businesses and planning and expenses, it is these surprise events.

Granted, people get sick. Businesses already adapted their models to accommodate that sometimes this happens. Also, it is ignorant are careless to ignore the economics and incentives of a 100% paid day off. But there could be a compromise at hand and we know what it is. Employment Insurance. We appreciate it is there for us, but probably very few of us want to be on it.

My proposal, just give 12 (what was essentially the Ontario Liberal Plan) or 15 days by default for vacation time. Yes, this will be expensive, but at the same time, it levels it across all working days of the year. The trade off, you can use all 15 days for sick days at the EI rate of 55% of regular pay. If 55% is good enough for unforeseen circumstance, it should be good enough for unforeseen illness. The beauty is, during a pandemic, there is minimal interruption to pay. It is automatically applied to your pay-cheque (which unlike EI that does have a waiting period, and I am sure CRSB also has a waiting period). This would have to be paid by the employer as I can envision way too many opportunities to abuse it from a business stand point or would lose out on the instant payout on the next pay-cheque.

I agree, there are weaknesses. For one, there is also now an incentive not to take time off for illness – after all, you can see a “windfall” at the end of the year by not taking them. But I am realistically looking at it that we do have Conservative government in power that is starting off from the position of opposition to implementing anything. This could be a workable substitute that addresses both sides in a fair manner.

You may disagree, and that is OK. I am not a public policy expert. I am just giving a potential option to begin talks. After all, we don’t have sick days yet so the rampant demanding is not working either.