New Provincial Financial Support For Paid Sick Leave Related To Covid-19

The Manitoba government has launched a new Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program to provide direct financial assistance to help fill gaps between federal programming and current provincial employment standards for paid sick leave.

The new Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program will provide employers with up to $600 per employee for up to five full days of COVID-19 related sick leave, which do not have to be taken consecutively. Eligible sick leave related to COVID-19 includes testing, vaccinations and side effects, self-isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms, or care for a loved one in any of the previously mentioned circumstances.

Private-sector, non-profit and charitable employers with eligible employees are able to qualify to receive the assistance. Employers who currently provide paid sick leave to their employees would not be eligible including federal, provincial and local governments. Eligible employees are those who reside in Manitoba and work and receive wages in Manitoba on a full or part-time basis.

The Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program begins May 7, 2021 and will provide support for sick leave taken and is scheduled to run until at least September 25, 2021 to coincide with the federal and other provincial programs.

The program will be administered by Economic Development and Jobs through an online application tool.

An employer can apply after the end of their regular pay period (2 weeks).

Direct deposit payments will be administered by Finance on a weekly basis.

Eligible Employees:

Employees who are resident in Manitoba and work and receive wages and salaries in Manitoba on a full or part-time basis would be eligible.

Self-employed persons and employees who work from home would not be eligible for this program.  Self-employed persons include personal who are employed by a personal services corporation – i.e. a corporation that they are the principal shareholders and they are the sole employee.

Employees who have exhausted paid sick leave benefits will not be covered.

Eligible Employers:

Any employer who employs an eligible employee would qualify, regardless of whether the employer is located in Manitoba or another jurisdiction.

Non-profit organizations and charities are eligible employers provided they meet the other criteria.

Employers who currently provide paid sick leave to their employees would not be eligible.  This includes federal, provincial and local governments, Crown agencies boards and corporations, and other workplaces covered by a collective agreement or other agreement that encompasses paid sick leave benefits.

Eligible Wages or Salaries:

The program would compensate wages and salaries paid to eligible employees.  It would exclude other payroll taxes incurred by the employer such as EI or CPP premiums, and the Manitoba payroll tax (Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy).

Note: Under federal income tax rules the amount of government assistance a business receives under the Manitoba Pandemic Sick leave Program either reduces deductible payroll costs or must be recorded as revenue.

What is the difference between the Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit?

The assistance provided by Manitoba will fill gaps that exist between the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and provincial employment standards for paid sick leave. (Under the Manitoba Employment Standards Code, 3 unpaid days of leave in a year for sick leave or for family care responsibilities after 30 days of employment with the same employer.)

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit program requires individuals to apply for sick leave and wait approximately one week before they receive payment and must have missed more than 50% of your work week to be eligible*.

In addition, the federal program is administratively burdensome for people who are ill, do not have an existing account with the CRA or do not have access to internet at home.

Under the Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program, employees get paid as normal with the employer requesting funds for partial reimbursement.

*Additional Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit Program eligibility criteria still apply. Click here for more information.

The application form will be available at noon on Friday May 14, 2021.

Additional information will be updates as it becomes available.