CUPE has been advocating for 14 paid sick days for all Manitoba workers who are told by their employers to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today the Manitoba government announced 14 days paid administrative leave for health care workers who are sent home due to possible contact with COVID-19 in the workplace. This announcement is retroactive to March 1, 2020.

On March 19, CUPE Manitoba organized a petition to call for 14 days paid leave, which garnered over 1,200 emails being sent to the government.

“We are glad the government is listening to CUPE and moving to provide paid leave for health care workers who are sent home due to possible contact with COVID-19. This will ensure health care workers will not be forced to use their sick banks to self isolate,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE’s Health Care Coordinator. “We want the government to extend this paid leave to all workers who are sent home by their employers for the 14-day isolation period,” added McAteer.

Sick banks are intended to ensure workers can take time off if they get sick. When those sick banks are used for self isolation, it results in workers not having enough sick leave if they get ill after the pandemic.

The government’s plan to provide paid leave for health workers in self-isolation due to contact with COVID-19 in the workplace, will ensure these health workers have enough sick days available when the pandemic is over.

“It is unclear if this extends to front-line workers who are told by their employer to self-isolate due to flu/cold symptoms, but who haven’t knowingly come into direct contact with COVID-19 in the workplace,” said McAteer.

CUPE calls on the government to extend the 14 days paid leave to all workers being asked by their employers to self-isolate, regardless of contact with COVID-19.

“Workers who are sent home by their employers should be covered.”