COVID-19: What employers must know about employee accommodation leaves

What employers must know about employee accommodation leaves

Given the current state of Covid-19 and the anticipation of continued effects of the virus, the new normal continues to bring challenges, especially for employers navigating employee accommodation leaves.

Employee accommodation leaves under the Employment Standard’s Act (ESA) and the Canada Labour Code (CLC), may become more relevant than ever. Under the ESA employees are entitled to a Covid-19 related leave, which permits an employee to take an unpaid leave to care for themselves, or a qualifying dependent on account of Covid-19, are subject to quarantine or self-isolation, or are outside of the province and cannot return on account of travel restrictions. The ESA also provides for up to three days of unpaid sick leave to employees after 90 days of continuous employment with the employer.

For federally-regulated employees, such as employees of banks, airlines, and telecommunications companies, the CLC, provides for up to a 16 week-leave in qualifying circumstances for employees required to care for themselves or a qualifying dependent on account of Covid-19. Currently, the CLC’s, Covid-19 related leave which came into force on October 2, 2020, employees may be entitled two unpaid leaves related to Covid-19 ranging from two to twenty-six weeks depending on the circumstances.

Under both pieces of employment legislation, there are job-protected leaves for employees who qualify, to care for themselves, and also dependents or family members in various circumstances prescribed by the ESA or CLC. These circumstances and entitlements under the ESA and the CLC vary but cover circumstances such as critical illness leaves, family or personal leaves, compassionate care leaves and medical or illness leaves.  

Need help navigating employee accommodation leaves in your workplace?

Having potential key employees out of the workforce may pose challenges to your workplace and we are here to guide you through those challenges. If you have questions or concerns about employee navigation leaves, our employment lawyers are here to help you. Call us today at 250.565.8000 or contact us online to request a call-back.

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