VICTORIA, B.C. -B.C.’s paid sick leave program is now in effect, providing support for workers dealing with COVID-19 related work interruptions.

“No worker should have to choose between going to work sick or losing pay to stay home. Therefore, effective as of May 20th, workers can take up to three days of paid sick leave for circumstances related to COVID-19,” said  Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, in a statement Friday.

Employers are also getting supported through a reimbursement program, “up to $200 per day for each worker who is eligible for paid sick leave.”

WorkSafeBC will set up the reimbursement program on the province’s behalf, and once it is running, employers can apply for paid wage reimbursement for COVID-19 sick leave between May 20th and December 31st, 2021.

Bains says this will help make the decision to stay home easier, reducing virus transmission in the province.

“We know that to move past this pandemic, we need to reduce transmission in the workplace and encourage people to stay home when they are sick. This leave will do just that.”

Bains estimates as many as one million workers could benefit from paid sick leave, including a large percentage of women, immigrants, or migrant workers.

“We want British Columbians to know their government has their back throughout this crisis — and together, we will get through this.”