On the Radar from CLEO
CLEO On The Radar
April 2023
The end of paid sick days for COVID-19
On March 31, 2023, the Ontario government ended the paid sick leave portion of the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL).
Ontario's IDEL program was created to support both employers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic by:
  • giving paid and unpaid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19, and
  • letting employers put employees on a long unpaid layoff if there was not enough work available because of COVID-19. This layoff rule ended July 30, 2022.
Through the IDEL program, employees could get up to 3 paid sick days between April 19, 2021, and March 31, 2023. The most they could get paid was $200 a day.
What options do employees have now that paid IDEL is over?
Unpaid IDEL
Employees still have an unlimited number of unpaid sick days through IDEL.
Employees can use these unpaid days if they have to miss work because:
  • they're getting a COVID-19 vaccine or recovering from side effects caused by the vaccine
  • they have COVID-19
  • they have to self-isolate or quarantine because they might have COVID-19
Employees can also take these sick days to care for a family member if one of the reasons above applies to them.
And they can take these sick days if their employer orders them to stay home because they might spread COVID-19 at work.
The government has not said when unpaid leave will stop being available.
Employees who take unpaid IDEL might qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.
Sick leave
Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) gives most employees 3 days of sick leave each calendar year. Employers do not have to pay employees for these days off.
But workers might have the right to paid sick days in:
Other options
If a worker gets COVID-19 at their workplace, they might qualify for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits.
There are also other unpaid ESA leaves if a worker is caring for a family member.
And if someone cannot work because they have Long COVID, they might qualify for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Getting legal help
If employees need legal help to deal with problems related to sick time or benefits, there's information in Where can I get help and advice about my rights as a worker?
Steps to Justice logo
Related resources
EI sickness benefits
Government of Canada
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