Applications now open for Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program

There is now partial reimbursement to help employers cover the cost of employee sick leave, if it’s COVID-19 related.

The recently announced Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program will fill gaps that exist between the federal Canada Recovery Sickness benefit and provincial employment standards for paid sick leave.

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The federal program covers up to four weeks of leave and requires eligible individuals to apply for leave and wait approximately one week for payment. Under Manitoba’s program, employees are paid on schedule and employers can request partial reimbursement from the province.

Economic Development and Jobs Minister Ralph Eichler announced the provincial program on May 14.

“To help protect all Manitobans and safely reopen our economy, we need workers to stay home if needed and take the time to get their COVID-19 vaccination,” said Eichler. “Manitobans need to feel confident that if they are sick, they can stay home without financial repercussions or fear of lost wages. The Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program provides employers with financial assistance to ensure employees are paid on their regular schedule with no wait times.”

The voluntary program provides eligible employers with up to $600 per employee for a maximum of five full days of COVID-19 related sick leave. Eligible sick leave for the program related to COVID-19 includes testing, vaccinations and side effects, self-isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms or care for a loved one in any of the previously mentioned circumstances.

“This is a difficult time for many businesses in Manitoba, including hotels,” said Scott Jocelyn, president and CEO, Manitoba Hotel Association. “Many parts of our business model are closed and many of our employees are not working right now. In order to get through this very challenging time, we need our remaining staff to be able to stay home if they’re feeling sick. We thank the government for this initiative.”

Private-sector, non-profit and charitable employers with eligible employees are now able to apply after the end of their regular pay period to receive a direct deposit. Eligible employees are those who reside in Manitoba, and work and receive wages in Manitoba on a full or part-time basis. The program does not apply to federal, provincial and local governments or employers that already provide employees with five or more paid sick leave days per year, but employers that offer fewer than five days may apply to cover the difference.

Eligibility for the program began May 7 and runs until at least Sept. 25 to coincide with the federal program and other provincial programs.

Employers can learn more about the Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program and apply online at https://gov.mb.ca/covid19/programs/pandemic-sick-leave.html.

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