The Manitoba government is launching 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, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.

“We are at a critical point in our fight against COVID-19 and the variants of concern, and it is crucial to stay home when sick to help limit the spread of this deadly virus,” said Pallister. “Many Manitobans are living paycheque to paycheque, and they need to feel confident that if they are sick, they can stay home without any financial repercussions or fear of lost wages.”

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 premier noted the eligibility period begins today, May 7 and runs until at least Sept. 25, to coincide with the federal and other provincial programs.