VICTORIA (November 23, 2021) – Despite the continuing challenges brought on by the global pandemic, the NDP are breaking their promise to struggling business owners, confirming they will cut government-funded sick leave for workers and businesses in 39 days and download those costs onto small businesses when they can least afford it.
“No one should have to choose between going to work sick or losing wages during this pandemic, which is why sick pay is so crucial to British Columbians. But between the strains of COVID-19, wildfires, and floods, B.C.’s businesses are hanging by a thread and cannot afford to be saddled with an additional financial burden that this government promised to carry,” said Opposition Labour Critic Greg Kyllo. “When the NDP introduced paid sick leave legislation, John Horgan said they would not burden businesses with the costs while they are still struggling to recover from the economic turmoil they have endured for more than 18 months, but now that’s exactly what they’re doing.”
The government has confirmed that $310 million budgeted for sick leave will be unspent and returned to general revenue, and refused to commit to extending it when pressed by members of the Official Opposition.
“Businesses are still completely blind to what this paid sick leave program will look like when they are forced to take it on,” added MLA Todd Stone, Opposition Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “The NDP could easily roll over the unspent funds and continue the current government-funded program until B.C. businesses have fully recovered. All they had to do today was say ‘yes.’ Instead, the NDP government is pocketing the $310 million underspend, and crippling businesses with additional costs they simply cannot afford right now.”