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

What would you like to ask Hope’s Mayor on COVID-19?

Send us your questions, ahead of a conversation with Peter Robb

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

‘It’s frightening’: Hemlock Valley trucker on being on the road during COVID-19

Armed with a keychain-sized hand sanitizer, trucker Brennan Bateman set out for the United States

SD78, meet your new superintendent

Balan Moorthy takes over from Karen Nelson August 1

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read