WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government announced on Tuesday it will be compensating healthcare workers who have to self-isolate for 14 days due to potential exposure to COVID-19.

Premier Brian Pallister made the announcement during a news conference Tuesday morning.

“Our government recognizes front-line health-care providers are facing extraordinary challenges during this unprecedented time,” the premier said.

“This change will give workers piece of mind knowing they can take the necessary time to protect themselves, their patients, coworkers and the broader community.

 The province noted it will give healthcare workers paid administrative leave for the 14-day time period of asymptomatic self-isolation. If a someone does develop symptoms, they are compensated through sick-leave benefits.

The Manitoba government is also suggesting provisions to the Employment Standards Code, which would permit people to be away from work for reason related to COVID-19.

The province consulted with the Labour Management Review Committee, and is going ahead with provisions that would give employees protected leave for eligible reasons.

Under these changes, employees would be able to take as much unpaid time off to:

  • Self-isolate or quarantine or take any other measures related to COVID-19 as directed by health professionals, Health Links, or the government;
  • Get a medical exam, supervision or treatment;
  • Comply with an order directed under The Emergency Measures Act or The Public Health Act;
  • Care or support a family member as a result of the virus; or
  • Comply with travel restrictions.

These changes apply to any leave that started between March 1, 2020 and a date to be decided in regulation.

“We want to reassure Manitobans they won’t lose their job for taking leave to comply with public health orders to self-isolate or to seek medical attention or care for a loved one because of COVID-19,” said Pallister.

“We all have a role to play in flattening COVID curve and we are committed to helping Manitobans navigate this challenging and unprecedented time.”

The province noted that other communicable diseases can be added to these new provisions through regulation.

“Manitobans have every right to expect that their government will do everything it can to address and support our pandemic response and our health-care workers in the front lines,” said Pallister.

“We expect that our public service will want to do the right thing to support these efforts and to make sure resources are where they are, when they are needed most.”