MONTREAL -- Unions who represent employees from the Société Québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) are worried workers may be showing up to their shifts despite having COVID-19 symptoms, out of fear of using up all their sick days. 

Though the Quebec government deemed the SQDC an essential service, if employees decide to self-quarantine because they’re sick, they have to rely on sick days to get paid, the union said. 

Workers may be choosing to go to work to avoid losing their sick leave, which poses a threat to both their co-workers and customers, David Clément, the local president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said in an interview. 

The SQDC said employees who decided to quarantine because they have a chronic illnesses or have recently returned from abroad are receiving their salary, as per the government’s instructions. 

For those who decide to quarantine because of COVID-19 symptoms, the SQDC said it has a bank of sick days to use in its collective agreement and, as a result, it says it’s not going against government orders. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2020.