When Linda Bernard broke her ankle at work, she got a plant and a card from co-workers, but nothing from her employer.

Ten years at a non-profit daycare in Scarborough had earned Bernard no benefits, and she found herself paying for a cast, crutches and a walking boot before trying, unsuccessfully, to return to work.

When she caught ringworm and pink eye from the children, her employer, who offered Bernard no paid sick days, also refused to pay for medications. “Out of pocket you would have to buy the drops for your eye or the cream for your arm,” Bernard said Tuesday.