The Halifax Workers Action Centre is calling on government to permit paid sick leave for all employees and legislation to prohibit employers from requesting doctors' notes to confirm an illness.
The provincial NDP agrees with this request and thinks something should be done soon given the global concern over the coronavirus. The Halifax WAC believes a request for doctor sick notes burdens the medical system and the sick employee as well.
Oganizer with Halifax WAC, Jason Edwards says in a release that everyone benefits when sick workers stay home and get well. NDP MLA Susan Leblanc telling NEWS 95.7 given the outbreak of COVID-19, this discussion is quite timely.
"One of my main concerns is people working in the low wage sector, people who don't have benefits, people who don't have much job protection, people who need the jobs very badly, and if they're feeling sick, and they're reticent about taking time off that's going to be way worse for everybody," says Leblanc. "So we need to protect those people and make sure they are staying home if they need to."
Health Minister Randy Delorey says discussions around sick notes in particular are ongoing.
"Conversations are taking place because people are asking the questions, and curious about that," says Delorey. "It's within the scope of many things being discussed."
Leblanc says she hears frequently from workers that it's difficult for lower income workers to get time off when they're sick.
"But for sure people working in the hospitality industry, that's a precarious job, and folks who are working there shouldn't have to prove that they're sick and they should be able to take time off with pay if they need to," says Leblanc.
Wednesday, Premier Stephen McNeil saying he would be open to seeing changes regarding sick note policies, saying that decision could be made at the national level by public health.