The Ontario Government implemented paid sick days for workers affected by COVID-19 in late April this year, and so far, $14.1 million worth of claims have been made.
The top three cities to cash in on sick days have been Mississauga, Toronto and Scarborough, and the leading industries for claims so far are manufacturing, construction and retail, according to government statistics released on July 16.
The program is currently due to run until September 25 and allows workers to take up to three days of paid leave for COVID-19 related issues such as getting a COVID-19 test, caring for family members who have COVID-19, needing to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and more.
The Ontario government will cover employers to pay their workers up to $200 a day for up to three days per worker if eligible. Employers can apply for reimbursement through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
According to statistics provided to Narcity by the minister of labour, training and skills development as of July 22, 49,168 employers have submitted claims for reimbursement with an average value of $154 per day.
Most workers utilizing the program are taking an average of 1.9 paid sick days. However, the program has proven to be less costly than expected.
The original numbers anticipated the program would cost anywhere from $750 million to $1.5 billion, and as of July 22 – more than halfway through the 22-week program — it has only seen $14.1 million in claims.
The program retroactively started on April 19 and will run until September 25, so there is still time for the cost to go up as more claims are made.