November 25, 2021
CHAMBER REACTS TO PROVINCIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ON PAID SICK LEAVE
Kelowna: The provincial announcement of five days mandated paid sick leave is a tough pill to swallow for many small businesses. The Kelowna Chamber is still looking for more details from the province but is concerned it could have a negative impact on our economy and BC’s competitiveness.
“The timing of the announcement was surprising as we had hoped the province would engage the business community a bit more prior to a decision,” says Jeffrey Robinson, Chair of the Board at the Kelowna Chamber. ”Given the current fragility of the economy, we had recently contacted the Labour Minister requesting that the government hold off on implementing what, at the time, the government was suggesting could be as high as ten paid sick days”.
Business leaders understand that it is important to make sure employees are safe and healthy. We recognize that many larger employers already have paid sick days for their employees; for those which don’t, this is an unbudgeted line item.
“Many businesses have been resilient through this pandemic, but very few are thriving. Our members are emotionally and financially exhausted. The added cost of the new permanent paid sick leave program adds to the cumulative impact of increased taxes and costs,” Robinson concluded.
The Chamber noted that if there is one thing that has been consistent throughout the pandemic, it’s that costs have continued to rise for small businesses; and additional business costs are the last thing small business owners wanted to hear about.
“Our concern is this will create additional challenges for some small businesses at a difficult time. Many are still trying to recover from the pandemic and some, from recent flooding and supply chain challenges,” said Dan Rogers, Executive Director of the Chamber.
Aside from this program, businesses have had to shoulder the introduction of the employer health tax, rising property taxes, and costs associated with pandemic safety measures in the last while.