Sick days are becoming a hot topic. During the COVID-19 outbreak, more people are required to stay home if they are not feeling well. The situation has sparked a discussion about Tim Hortons sick policy, with some calling for a boycott.

An article from PressProgress examined how some franchised locations handle employees who need to stay home.

They reported that a number of franchises require their workers to produce a doctor's note for any unpaid sick leave.

"Sick days, at Tim Hortons at least, are unpaid," a former employee told PressProgress, "Not only are you sick, you’re also losing a day’s wage, so employees asking for a sick day have considered it at length."

With the spread of COVID-19 becoming more rapid, the discussion of allowing paid sick leave has become much more prominent. Major precautions have been taken, including school closures and the cancellation of professional sporting events.

One manager told PressProgress that other than new policies from Tims of not allowing reusable mugs and changing the Roll Up The Rim contest, no other preventative steps are being taken.

However, in an email statement to Narcity, Tim Hortons claimed this wasn't accurate.

"We take our responsibility to Tim Hortons guests and team members across Canada very seriously. It is important for all of us to follow the advice of our public health officials especially around staying home if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19," they said. 

They continued, "we have been working with our 1,500 restaurant owners in Canada to follow the advice of their local public health authorities in all cases — including not requiring a doctor’s note when an employee reports in sick." *

However, the Press Progress article has since gone viral, and now has Canadians calling for a boycott of the coffee chain on Twitter using the hashtag, #BoycottTimHortons.

"#boycottTimHortons .@TimHortons Are you really allowing franchises to require that sick employees provide a doctors note if they take an unpaid sick day? That’s a surefire way to help spread Coved-19, burden the system unnecessarily and and lose customers in one fell swoop. #bs" wrote @rhjdm.

"Tim Horton's irresponsible sick note policy rips money from healthcare system. Cost to taxpayers: doctor visit = more than $120 Sick note = $20-50. Workers unpaid for time at doctor. @TimHortons, REFUND that $ to #HealthCare #BoycottTimHortons #ONpoli" wrote Ontario NDP MPP Terence Kernaghan.

Even Gerald Butts got in on the conversation, writing "So
@TimHortons wants my doctor and yours doing paperwork during the #Covid19 pandemic because they don’t trust their employees? Good grief."

COVID-19 continues to spread in Canada. As of 2:30 PM on March 13, the government reports 176 confirmed cases across the country. Prime Minister Trudeau has even gone into isolation after his wife, Sophie, was confirmed as having the virus.

*Editor's note: This story has been updated. 

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