FREDERICTON – Megan Mitton, MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar, tabled a motion urging the government to increase protections for non-unionized workers by giving all workers access to at least five paid sick days, with ten additional days during emergency situations such as a health pandemic; increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next two years; and ensuring all employees receive overtime pay of one and a half times their wage.
“The COVID pandemic has made it clear that our essential workers, who often make minimum wage and have no access to paid sick leave, are undervalued,” says Mitton. “I’m calling on the government to move forward on making the changes outlined in this motion because they would have a big impact on minimum wage and casual workers.”
Workers who work overtime in New Brunswick are only required to receive overtime pay at one and a half times the minimum wage, and not one and a half times their wage. Employers are currently not obligated to provide employees with paid sick days.
“This is about both workers’ rights and public health,” said Mitton. “When you make minimum wage or thereabouts, it’s difficult to make the decision to stay home without pay, even if you should be staying home to avoid spreading your illness, whether it’s COVID-19 or otherwise.”