The Canada Labour Code (“CLC”) was recently amended to include new employee entitlements to paid sick leave for federally regulated employees. The new paid medical leave requirements will come into force on December 1, 2022 and federally regulated employers must comply.
Who Will be Affected by the New Law?
All federally regulated private-sector employers will be subject to the new laws.
Employee Entitlements and Employer Rights Under the New Law
Under the new provisions of the CLC, employees are entitled to paid medical leave as follows:
- 3 days of paid medical leave, after 30 days of continuous service with the employer.
- A further 1 day of paid leave will be earned at the beginning of each month after the employee’s initial 30-day period, up to a maximum of 10 paid days per calendar year.
- In each subsequent year of employment, employees will earn 1 day of paid medical leave following each month of continuous employment.
- An employee is entitled to receive pay for their normal hours of work at their regular rate for each day of paid medical leave.
The paid medical leave may be taken or carried over as follows:
- The leave may be taken by the employee in one or more periods, but the employer may require that each such period of leave be at least one day in duration (i.e. no half or partial days off).
- Any days of paid medical leave that an employee does not take in a calendar year will carry forward to January 1 of the following year, and each day carried forward will reduce the number of paid medical leave days that can be earned by the employee in that next year. This makes it so that an employee cannot accrue more than 10 paid days off per calendar year.
Employers may require employees who take 5 or more consecutive days of paid medical leave to provide a medical certificate stating that the employee was not able to work during their leave. Such certificates must be requested by the employer in writing, no later than 15 days after the employee’s return to work. Where an employer leases or sells their business or an employee changes employers due to contract retendering, the employee will be deemed to be continuously employed for the purposes of preserving their paid medical leave entitlements.
Interaction With Existing Medical Leave Entitlements
Employees’ current entitlements to leave under the CLC for “treating their illness or injury” will be repealed upon the coming into force of the new medical leave. However, personal leave on grounds other than “treating their illness or injury” (i.e. to carry out responsibilities related to family members’ health or care) would remain in place. Furthermore, the current unpaid medical leave provisions of the CLC will remain in place notwithstanding the new paid medical leave entitlements.
Next Steps for Employers
Federally regulated employers are encouraged to consider how these new paid medical leave entitlements will interact with their existing policies surrounding leave programs. The days do not stack on one another, and employers may need to clarify that with their employees. We encourage federally regulated employers to review their contracts and policies regarding paid sick leave.
Ljubica Durlovska is an Employment Lawyer at HRC Law Professional Corporation. With a passion for employment and labour law, she has spent many years helping employers with a wide range of workplace issues, including assisting clients with employment contracts, discipline, investigations, policy development, accommodation, termination, and employment-related human rights and health & safety matters. Ljubica also has experience in corporate/commercial law and leasing.