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 January 10, 2022.

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

How the program works

Workers who cannot 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 program applies to individuals who need to take time off because they are:

  • self-isolating due to an exposure or a close contact and waiting for rapid or PCR testing
  • self-isolating due to symptoms and waiting for rapid or PCR testing
  • getting rapid or PCR tested for COVID-19
  • self-isolating while waiting for PCR test results
  • getting a vaccine or booster (time missed due to a reaction/symptoms from a vaccine or booster are not covered)

The program covers up to a total of 4 eligible sick days taken between December 20, 2021 and May 7, 2022.

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 per 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 does not cover other payroll expenses such as Employment Insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions.

Sick Leave Days

Claims made under the previous program do not count towards the 4-day total sick leave days under this relaunched program.

The 4 sick days can be taken one at a time or as consecutive days (as long as time missed is less than 50% of the scheduled work week).

Employees who have paid sick leave benefits from their employer – that total 4 days or more – are not eligible under the program, even if the entire benefit has already been taken.

Employees who have paid sick leave benefits from their employer – that total less than 4 days – may be eligible to claim the difference between the number of days provided by their employer and the maximum available under the program. In order to be eligible, employees must have used all of the paid sick leave benefits provided by their employer. To determine the number of days that can be claimed, subtract the number of employer-paid days from the 4 days available under the program. For example, if an employee missed 2 days and used the 3 paid sick days offered by their employer, the employer could submit a claim for 1 missed day (4 program days – 3 sick leave benefit days = 1 eligible day).

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 such as loan repayments, taxes, fines, fees and administrative and court orders)
  • are claiming reimbursement for Nova Scotia-based employees
  • do not provide their employees with at least 4 paid sick leave days

Self-employed workers can apply if they:

  • are a resident of Nova Scotia
  • 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 such as loan repayments, taxes, fines, fees and administrative and court orders)
  • are not eligible for or receiving other income support (such as 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:

  • employees who have paid sick leave benefits that total 4 days or more, even if the entire benefit has already been taken
  • employees who are receiving benefits from other paid COVID-19 programs
  • employees who have less than 4 days of paid sick leave benefit, but have not used the entire benefit provided by their employer

Employers:

  • businesses, shareholders, officers, directors and partners of the business who aren’t in good standing with their financial obligations to the Government of Nova Scotia
  • businesses that aren’t currently operating
  • federal, provincial and municipal governments and crown corporations

Self-employed workers:

  • self-employed individuals with commission-based earnings claiming for speculative income losses
  • self-employed individuals who aren’t actively earning income from their business

Who Applies?

Employers or Self-Employed Workers are able to apply to the program

How to apply

Applications open on January 10, 2022. 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 – Government of Nova Scotia, Canada

Businesses

If an employee has COVID-19 symptoms, they should stay home and follow public health advice. 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 30 days of when the employee was paid.

You do not need a doctor’s note.

Self-employed workers

Self-employed workers need to apply within 30 days of missing work.

You do not need a doctor’s note.

Verification process

Employers are required to provide employee pay information, employee schedules and attendance documentation as part of the online application process.

Self-employed workers are required to provide GST/HST Return and T1 Income Tax Benefit and Return (including Statement of Business or Professional Activities – Form T2125) for their most recent taxation year.

The Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration may conduct spot checks and audits of applications. If it is determined you were not eligible, you will need to pay back the money you received.