Nova Scotia

Need to isolate or take sick day due to COVID-19? Here are the federal benefits available

There are a number of federal benefit programs available if people need to take a sick day, self-isolate or stay home with a sick child due to COVID-19.

Nova Scotians have been asked to stay home if they feel sick, but what happens when it is unaffordable

There are federal benefits available for people who must stay home because they are sick, isolating or taking care of a sick family member. (Shutterstock/George Rudy)

With COVID-19 cases increasing in Nova Scotia in recent weeks, the province's chief medical officer of health has urged people to stay home if they feel sick, even if it means missing work or school.

"We're looking for ways to support individuals in those areas, but it's really important that people, if they're not well, they go home or they stay home," Dr. Robert Strang said in a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.

Strang appealed to workplaces to be more tolerant and supportive when their employees must take a sick day.

Premier Stephen McNeil also reassured people who may not be able to afford to take a sick day that there are benefits available for this exact situation.

If a person needs to take a sick day, self-isolate or stay home with a sick child, here are the benefits that can be accessed through the federal government:

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit is available to individuals who are unable to work because they must take care of their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.

This benefit applies if the child's school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19, or if they are sick, isolating or at risk of contracting the virus.

The caregiver benefit will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks to the individual who is unable to work for at least 50 per cent of the week.

If the situation goes beyond one week, a new application is required. Individuals may apply until Sept. 25, 2021.

The benefit can be accessed through the Canada Revenue Agency. Individuals can apply online or by phone.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

The government has also created a new sick-leave benefit that pays up to $1,000 over two weeks to people who can't work because they contracted COVID-19, must self-isolate, or have a greater risk of contracting the virus.

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will provide eligible participants $500 for each one-week period. Individuals must apply again if the situation continues past one week.

Individuals may apply for up to two weeks until Sept. 25, 2021.

The benefit is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. Individuals may apply online or by phone.

EI sickness benefits

Employment Insurance sickness benefits are available to individuals who aren't able to work because they are sick or need to quarantine, decreasing their earnings by more than 40 per cent for at least one week.

Eligible applicants must have at least 120 insured hours to apply, as they will also receive a one-time credit of 480 insured hours to meet the required 600 insured hours of work.

These benefits may provide individuals with up to $573 a week for up to 15 weeks, but individuals must get a medical certificate to prove that they're unable to work.

Individuals may apply online.

Some employers do provide their own paid sick leave and applicants are advised to check with their employer before applying for EI sickness benefits.

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