Industry News

How Ontario’s New COVID-19 Paid Sick Days Affects Your Business’ Payroll

The last year has been tough on both employees and employers across Ontario.

Employers have been faced with making hard decisions about their businesses and their employees without real knowledge of the long-term effects that it might have.

Paid sick days being one of the more controversial topics.

The Ontario government has now enacted legislation that provides eligible employees three paid sick days for COVID-19 related reasons. Reimbursement would be given to the employer to relieve the financial burden that sick days can have on small businesses.

Details about this new legislation are scarce and has employers wondering how it is going to work and how this may affect their business’s payroll.

V-Tac Payroll Management is staying up-to-date with how Ontario’s new COVID-19 paid sick days are going to affect your business’s payroll so that we can continue to provide you with smooth and reliable payroll management.

COVID-19 Paid Sick Days in Ontario

Person working on laptopThrough the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit program, the provincial government is providing paid infectious disease emergency leave to eligible employees.

They have amended the Employment Standards Act, 2000 to require employers to provide employees with up to 3 days of paid infectious disease emergency leave.
 Paid infectious disease emergency leave is available for certain reasons related to COVID-19, such as:
  • Going for a COVID-19 test

  • Staying home awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test

  • Being sick with COVID-19

  • Going to get vaccinated

  • Experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19 vaccination

  • Having been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by an employer, medical practitioner or other specified authority

  • Providing care or support to certain relatives for COVID-19 related reasons, such as:
    – An individual who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19
    – An individual who is self-isolating due to COVID-19 on the advice of a medical practitioner or other specified authority

As an employer, if you already have paid leave included in your existing employment contracts, then this new act only applies if the amount of pay under your employment contract is at least as much as what the employee would be entitled to under the Employment Standards Act.

Employer Reimbursement for Paid Sick Leave

Eligible employers are entitled to be reimbursed for the amount of infectious disease emergency leave pay they paid to their employees.

Writing a chequeEmployers are required to pay up to $200 per employee per day.
An application for reimbursements to the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) must be made within 120 days of the date the employer paid the employee.
Since information about this legislation is still being released, no specifics have been given about the application process (at the time of this article’s publishing).
 However, it would likely include the following:
  • Application with all the details of the employer’s payment and the employee who is receiving the paid leave

  • An attestation confirming:
    – That the employer-provided paid leave to an employee
    – The specific dates the leave was taken
    – The date payment was made
    – The amount of the payment
    – That the employer was not otherwise required to pay the employee under the terms of an employment contract

Based on the information provided, the WSIB will make a decision about whether to grant the reimbursement.

How Does Paid Leave Affect Your Payroll

Although the paid infectious disease emergency leave will be assessed and distributed by WSIB, paid leave will be treated separately from an employer’s WSIB account

There may be some payroll confusion if an employee receives WSIB benefits for the same day the paid leave was given. In this instance, the employer would have to repay WSIB for any paid leave reimbursements that they had received for the employee.

How Can V-Tac Payroll Management Help?

Picking up a product wearing masksAt V-Tac Payroll we are committed to making your payment and payroll needs faster and easier to manage. We keep up to date with implementing provincial government compliance to ensure you are able to easily keep track of these changes to your payroll system.

COVID-19 has made this last year incredibly challenging for many small- to medium-sized businesses across Canada. With the introduction of mandatory paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons and reimbursement for employers, this can relieve some stress around missing days of work and the financial burden for both employers and employees.

Contact V-Tac Payroll today to find out more about how we can help you navigate and manage the changes to your payroll associated with the COVID-19 paid sick leave.

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