COVID-19 Leave in Canada Labour Code to be Extended
Date: September 30, 2020
Early on September 30, 2020, the federal House of Commons passed Bill C-4, COVID-19 Response Measures Act. It amends the Leave Related to COVID-19 provisions of the Canada Labour Code to extend the leave to September 25, 2021. It also enacts the Canada Recovery Benefits Act which establishes certain benefits as a result of COVID-19. The Bill must still pass through the Senate, after which it is anticipated to receive Royal Assent.
In this Federal Post, we discuss the amendments made to the Canada Labour Code by Bill C-4. The Canada Recovery Benefits Act will be discussed in a separate communication.*
Canada Labour Code Amendments
Bill C-4 amends Division XIII.01 of the Canada Labour Code, Leave Related to COVID-19 (Leave). The Leave will be extended from October 1, 2020 to September 25, 2021 and the requirements for entitlement to the Leave will change.
Employees who cannot work due to one of the following reasons will be entitled to take a Leave of up to two weeks, or such other period set by regulation:
- They may have or have contracted COVID-19.
- They have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that make them more susceptible to COVID-19, in the opinion of a medical or nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority.
- They have been advised to self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19 by their employer, a medical or nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority.
Employees who cannot work due to one of the following reasons will be entitled to an aggregate amount of Leave of up to 26 weeks or such other period set by regulation:
- They must care for a child who is under age 12 on the first day of the period of the Leave because:
- the child’s school or facility is closed or partially closed because of COVID-19
- the child cannot attend the school or facility because:
- the child has, or might have, contracted COVID-19
- on the advice of a medical or nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, the child is in isolation for reasons related to COVID-19, or
- in the opinion of a medical or nurse practitioner, the child would be at risk of having serious health complications if the child contracted COVID-19, or
- the person who usually cares for the child is not available for reasons related to COVID-19.
- They must care for a family member who requires supervised care and is unable to attend a day program or facility which they would otherwise normally attend. The circumstances necessitating the care for a family member are similar to those set out above relating to the care of a child under age 12.
Any Leave related to COVID-19 which was taken by employees before October 1, 2020, pursuant to the existing Leave provisions, will not count towards the new 26-week entitlement.
If two or more federally regulated employees reside in the same household, only one employee may take the 26-week Leave at any given time. The aggregate amount of the 26-week Leave taken by them could not exceed 26 weeks or such other period set by regulation.
The Leave, whether it be the two-week entitlement or the 26-week entitlement, will remain a protected leave, during which time employers must continue paying their contributions in respect of any pension, health and disability benefits.
The Regulations Amending the Canada Labour Standards Regulations (which recently extended the Canada Labour Code COVID-19 leave to 28 weeks) will also be repealed.
Should you have any questions related to this leave, please contact Rebecca Liu or your regular Hicks Morley lawyer.
*Editor’s Note: this post has been modified from its original version. The new Leave came into effect on October 2, 2020.
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