BC FED – What do you do when you are too sick to work?

What do you do when you are too sick to work?

What you do when you are too sick to work? That’s what we asked more than 1300 British Columbians.

We heard the message loud and clear. Many people go to work sick or lose pay because they don’t have access to paid sick leave. An astounding, 43% of the people we heard from do not receive any paid sick leave from their employer! That’s not fair. 

Here’s a snapshot of what we heard:

I have no choice but to go to work when I’m sick. Not only do I not receive sick pay, but it is up to me to find someone to cover my shift if I cannot work. The stress it creates is huge. I live in constant fear that I will become sick.

People worry about bills piling up:

If I miss time from work for 1-3 days while being sick I am at risk of falling behind on my bills for about a month, sometimes more, which prevents me from saving for the future, and contributes to more stress in my life.

Some folks can’t take time off for fear of losing their job:

I have left the hospital against medical advice as work told me show up or else.

And others reported the impact on their colleagues:

We all end up getting sick, but everyone still has to come to work so everyone is miserable. And it’s possible that customers end up getting sick as well.

When you get sick, you should be focused on getting better. Spreading germs to colleagues and customers is not okay. Neither is making your self sicker by worrying about paying the bills. 

We can do better. That’s why the BC Federation of Labour is calling on the BC NDP government to require all employers to provide paid sick leave. They’ve done it in Ontario, Washington State and in California. It’s time we did it here too.

You can help by signing our petition right now. Let’s level the playing field for workers in BC.


Irene Lanzinger
BC Federation of Labour

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