Nova Scotia COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program Details

Nova Scotians who need to take time off work because of COVID-19 may qualify for up to 4 paid sick days through the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program. Businesses can apply for reimbursement for an employee’s pay when an employee needs to take time off. Self-employed workers can also apply. Applications open 26 May 2021.

How the program works

Workers who can’t work remotely and miss less than 50% of their scheduled work time in a 1-week period because of COVID-19 may be eligible.

This includes people who need to take time off because they’re:

  • waiting to get a COVID-19 lab test
  • getting a COVID-19 lab test
  • self-isolating while waiting for test results
  • getting vaccinated

COVID-19 tests need to be standard PCR tests and not rapid tests.

The 4 sick days don’t need to be taken consecutively.  The program will cover eligible sick days taken between 10 May 2021 and 31 July 2021.

Under the program, employers pay the employee for the time they missed and then apply for reimbursement. The payment is calculated based on the employee’s current rate of pay up to a maximum of $20 per hour or $160 day (the maximum total payment per employee is $640).

The program compensates pay for eligible employees and loss of income for self-employed workers. It doesn’t cover other payroll expenses like Employment Insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions.

Employees who miss 50% or more of their scheduled work week may qualify for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.

Eligibility

Employers can apply for reimbursement for an employee’s sick days if they:

  • are a for-profit business or not-for-profit organization
  • have a permanent physical location in Nova Scotia
  • are registered to do business in Nova Scotia
  • are in good standing with the Province of Nova Scotia (not in default of any financial obligations like loan repayments, taxes, fines, fees and administrative and court orders)
  • are paying Nova Scotia-based employees who don’t qualify for paid sick leave under their employment agreement and aren’t receiving benefits from other COVID-19 programs

Self-employed workers can apply if they:

  • are actively earning income from the business as their primary source of income
  • are registered to do business in Nova Scotia, if applicable
  • have declared business income on their most recent tax return
  • have lost income because they missed time at work
  • are in good standing with the Province of Nova Scotia (not in default of any financial obligations like loan repayments, taxes, fines, fees and administrative and court orders)
  • aren’t eligible for or receiving other income support (like Business Interruption Insurance, Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit or any other income replacement or insurance programs)

These self-employed workers and employers are not eligible:

  • employees who have other sick leave benefits, even if they’ve used them up
  • businesses, shareholders, officers, directors and partners of the business who aren’t in good standing with their financial obligations to the Province of Nova Scotia
  • self-employed workers with commission-based earnings claiming for speculative income losses
  • self-employed workers who aren’t actively earning income from their business
  • businesses that aren’t currently operating
  • federal, provincial and municipal governments and crown corporations

How to apply

Applications open on 26 May 2021. The Nova Scotia Co-operative Council will process the applications.

Further information is available on the Province of Nova Scotia website at Coronavirus (COVID-19): Paid Sick Leave Program – Province of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Businesses

If an employee has COVID-19 symptoms, they should schedule a test and stay home. Under the program, the employer pays them for the time they’re absent from work and then applies to the program for reimbursement.

You need to apply within 90 days of when the employee was paid.

You don’t need a doctor’s note.

Self-employed people

Self-employed people need to apply within 90 days of missing work.

You don’t need a doctor’s note.

Verification process

The Department of Labour and Advanced Education may conduct spot checks and audits of applications. If fraud is found, you’ll need to pay back the money you received.

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