Prof. Nita Chhinzer

With only about half of Canadians eligible for paid sick days – even in the midst of a pandemic — what can be done to ensure more Canadians aren’t forced to choose between paying their bills or going to work ill?

The issue of paid sick days has sparked arguments over who should pay: governments or employers. University of Guelph human resources professor Dr. Nita Chhinzer says the solution would integrate contributions from both.

Chhinzer, who teaches in the Department of Management in U of G’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics and studies many aspects of employment ethics, recently wrote a commentary for Conversation Canada about paid sick days.

She argued that the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which provides payments to those unable to work due to COVID-19 illness or self-isolation, is not sustainable in the long term.

Governments and employers need to share responsibility in creating new policies, she wrote, and she suggested exploring financial supports for businesses that implement paid sick days. Not only would that incentivize employers to offer paid sick days, she said, but it would also offset the health-care costs of outbreaks caused by workers who go into work ill.

“Post-pandemic, we must learn from our mistakes and take action in a more permanent manner. While the benefits of paid sick days are clear, an integrated approach involving employers, employees and government is required,” Chhinzer wrote.

Chhinzer also recently spoke to Global News Radio AM 640 on the topic.

She is available for interviews.


Dr. Nita Chhinzer