Federal Government Extends COVID-19 Leaves under Canada Labour Code
Date: March 31, 2021
On March 31, 2021, the federal government published regulations amending the Canada Labour Standards Regulations made under the Canada Labour Code to increase the length of the existing federal COVID-19 leaves. These changes took effect on March 15, 2021.
Therefore, employees in federally regulated workplaces continue to be entitled to the following two job-protected unpaid COVID-19 leaves, subject now to the increased entitlements.
The first is a leave for up to four weeks (increased from two weeks). It can be taken as many times as necessary and applies where the employee:
- has or might have contracted COVID-19
- has underlying conditions, is undergoing treatments or other specified circumstances that in the opinion of a medical practitioner, health authority or other specified authority makes the employee more susceptible to COVID-19, or
- has been advised to isolate by a medical practitioner, public health authority or other specified authority for reasons related to COVID-19.
The second is a leave for up to 38 weeks (increased from 26 weeks) if the employee is unable to work because they must care for a child who is under age 12 or a family member who requires supervised care due to reasons specified in the Canada Labour Code. (Editor’s Note: this leave was later increased to 42 weeks.)
Employment and Social Development Canada had updated its guidance document for the extended COVID-19 leaves. The document indicates these measures will be repealed on September 25, 2021. (Editor’s Note (October 2021): since this post was written, the date for repeal of these leaves has changed to November 20, 2021.)
Note that the federal government has stated that these temporary measures are to align the COVID-19 leaves with changes to the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefits.
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