A doctor writing on a chart. (Pexels File)

Doctor’s notes should be waived amid COVID-19 spread, B.C. government union says

B.C. government has dropped required doctor’s notes so its employees can access their sick leave

In wake of ongoing concerns of COVID-19 in B.C., a government employees union is calling on employers across the province to stop requiring doctor’s notes in order to limit the virus from spreading further.

“We all have a part to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19 and the message from public health experts is clear — one critically important thing we all need to do is stay home if we feel sick,” president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union said in a statement Tuesday.

ALSO READ: B.C. records first COVID-19 death in Canada as province hits 32 cases

“Right now many employers require workers to produce a doctor’s note to access their sick leave, which creates a needless administrative hurdle for workers, an additional strain on our health care system, and an increased risk of spreading the infection.”

On Friday, the province announced it would drop required doctor’s notes so government employees can access their sick leave — a move Smith called “a seemingly small decision that would have an enormous impact as we navigate this public health crisis.”

WATCH: A look at how Canadian workplaces can prepare for a coronavirus outbreak

One person in B.C. has died from the virus, a man in his 80s who was a resident of a seniors home in Lynn Valley, and 31 other patients have been placed in quarantine or self isolation since early February. Four of those people have since been released.

Health officials have urged anyone who feels ill or shows flu or cold-like symptoms to simply stay home in order to minimize the risk of others becoming infected. If symptoms worsen, people should call HealthLink BC, by dialing 811, instead of visiting their doctor’s office or a hospital.

Symptoms of the novel coronavirus can range from mild to severe and include coughing, a fever and shortness of breath.

Paid sick leave is not currently covered by B.C.’s Employment Standards Act, which means that part-time and casual workers are often left being forced to go unpaid if they cannot work. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has encouraged businesses to be flexible and allow employees to work from home, as well as host “virtual gatherings” in stead of in-person meetings.

The federal government is expected to announce some kind of support for businesses affected by the novel coronavirus later this week.

ALSO READ: Feds have fiscal room to react to impacts of COVID-19, says Bill Morneau


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes the Kootenays

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout parts of B.C. and Alberta

Avalanche blocked Highway 1 yesterday

Highway 1 over Rogers Pass was closed for most of the day

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

COVID-19 case confirmed at restaurant in Cache Creek: Interior Health

Customers who visited the site from March 25 to 27 are asked to self-isolate

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

First COVID-19 outbreak in Interior Health identified at Okanagan agricultural business; 14 cases confirmed

75 workers are in isolation — 63 migrant workers and 12 local workers

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Most Read