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More paid sick time coming to P.E.I. workers

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All workers on Prince Edward Island will have more paid sick days.

A new bill to amend the Employment Standards Act would guarantee one paid sick day for workers after spending a year with their employer, and another for each of the next two years, maxing out at three.

Workers are currently entitled to just one day after five years on the job.

The details of the bill don’t impress the Island’s opposition parties.

It’s less than was proposed in the original legislation by the P.E.I. Liberal Party, who asked for five sick days within the first year of employment.

“Islanders at least have some security in knowing that they don’t have to choose between their health and their finances,” said Hal Perry, Liberal Leader. “However, this government talks a big game, but when it came down to it, they completely gutted the original amendment to the bill.”

This isn’t the first time paid sick days have been on the docket. The Greens tabled a bill looking for 10 last year and then again for five in this sitting. Both were defeated.

The Greens voted in favour of the newly updated three-day bill.

“I guess it is better than nothing, technically, but not much better than nothing,” said Karla Bernard, Green Leader.

The Tories say the changes come out of a review of the act, further saying compensation for small businesses, which was cut from the proposed amendments, would be better handled by policy.

“There doesn’t need to be a line in there about that. It doesn’t need to be made through legislation,” said Jenn Redmond, minister of workforce, advanced learning, and population. “Government, certainly, puts on programs and services regularly to help Islanders, and we, as a department, would look at possibilities for the future, if needed.”

The bill is done in the legislature and now needs royal assent and to be proclaimed by the government to come into effect.

For more Prince Edward Island news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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