July 14, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Retail Action Network Prescribes a Week of Action for Paid Sick Days in BC
VICTORIA, B.C. – Now in Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, economic circumstances are increasingly bleak for workers that are now being confronted with vague or missing labour protections. The Retail Action Network (RAN), a labour rights advocacy group led by non-unionized retail and hospitality workers in BC, is calling on the Province to ensure that employees have paid sick leave and that business interests are not prioritized during the pandemic at the expense of the working class.
More than half of BC employees still do not have access to paid sick leave, a vital form of protection for workers. Throughout the pandemic, RAN has heard numerous concerns from workers about employer retaliations and unfair dismissals following the request for a sick day. The BC NDP continues to point to the Employment Insurance program as a remedy for the situation, however RAN argues that this approach is inaccessible and unrealistic.
“There’s an existing system to ensure that the right to take a paid sick day is upheld; introducing paid sick days into the BC Employment Standards Act is the most logical course of action,” says Kaitlyn Matulewicz with the Retail Action Network. “Complicated application processes with elaborate means tests won’t provide workers the confidence needed to stay home when sick to protect their health, and the health of the public at large. Workers need the assurance to stay home when sick without it impacting their next paycheque and without the risk of being fired.”
During the week of action from July 13 – July 18th, RAN members are requesting Zoom meetings with MLAs on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, beginning with a scheduled meeting with B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains on Wednesday.
RAN will also be taking to the streets on Saturday in Victoria and Vancouver in PPE and wearing Doctor costumes to offer passers-by unofficial prescriptions for paid sick days as a cure for workplace woes, injustices and ailments.