A return to school and usual schedules amidst the second year of the pandemic requires unique considerations for employers. With many parents navigating a novel school year, complete with graduated entries, enhanced protective measures and remote or home-based learning, employers are being called upon to adapt and accommodate employees in such circumstances. Here’s what employers and employees need to know.
Accommodating your employees: what’s required
Provincial legislation requires employers to accommodate leaves on the basis of caring for children or a family member. There are two forms of leave available in these circumstances:
- The Family Responsibility leave under the Employment Standard’s Act provides employees with a job-protected leave for up to five days, partially paid, to care for members of the immediate family
- Personal leave is available under the Canada Labour Code which provides for up to 5-days of job-protected unpaid leaves related to health or to care for family members.
How to accommodate employees’ special circumstances
BC’s Human Rights legislation protects persons against discrimination on the basis of family status and disability and also requires employers to accommodate special circumstances.
Employers looking to adapt and accommodate employees’ needs, particularly those requiring an absence from the workplace, ought to consider remote or work-from-home arrangements, staggered and flexible work schedules, or limiting public access to the workplace as a means of navigating the new normal. However, these accommodations can impact the safety of your employees, and your business operations and should be considered carefully.
Revising your policies to address the changes in your workplace, accommodation of employees, and ensuring compliance with workplace safety standards is strongly recommended. Consulting with an employment law lawyer is a good start to ensuring your workplace policies reflect all current provincial and federal requirements.