Many private-sector workers are not entitled to paid sick leave and that could be making some Nunavummiut more vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19, according to Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI).
The land claims organization is lobbying for mandatory paid days off for essential workers who are ill, as the territory’s existing legislation doesn’t require compensation for employees who are self-isolating or sick.
“A year into the global pandemic and it is unacceptable that employees who are sick cannot afford to stay home,” said NTI President Aluki Kotierk. “We all need to do our part to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and this is one area in which we believe the (Government of Nunavut) can make a positive impact right now as well as a lasting impact for future generations.”
NTI is recommending a minimum amount of paid sick leave is offered to all employees in Nunavut or introducing a paid sick leave rebate program for employers, similar to what exists in Yukon.
“While the issue is not without limitations in other jurisdictions, NTI is confident that this is something that Nunavut can show leadership in at the national level,” states a NTI news release issued Thursday.