The Canada Labour Code provides federally regulated employees with a number of leaves. The employer cannot dismiss, suspend, lay off, demote or discipline an employee when they are on leave or intend to take such leave.
The employee is entitled to sick leave protection of up to 17 weeks if they have worked for the same employer for at least three consecutive months. The employee must provide a medical certificate if their employer requests one—in writing—within 15 days of the return to work.
Leave for Work-related Illness and Injury
Employers must subscribe to a plan that will replace the wages for this kind of leave at a rate equivalent to that provided by provincial or territorial workers' compensation in the province where the employee lives.
For general information, please consult Sick Leave and Work-related Illness and Injury Leave (Pamphlet 7 - Labour Standards).
Maternity-related Reassignment and Leave
An employee who is pregnant or nursing can ask their employer to modify their job or reassign them if continuing to do their present work poses a risk to their health, the health of their unborn child, or the health of their baby. This request must be accompanied by a medical certificate indicating how long the risk will likely last and what activities/conditions the employee should avoid.
Maternity and Parental Leave
Female employees—including managers and professionals—are entitled to up to 17 weeks of maternity leave if they have completed six consecutive months of continuous employment with the same employer before their leave begins.
The employee can take this leave any time during the period that begins 11 weeks before the expected date of delivery and ends 17 weeks after the actual delivery date.
If the employee chooses not to take maternity leave, their employer cannot compel them to take such leave unless it can be shown that they are unable to perform essential functions of their job.
Natural and adoptive parents are also eligible for up to 37 weeks of parental leave under the same conditions as those for maternity leave.
They can take this leave any time during the 52-week period starting the day the child is born or the day the child comes into their care.
Combining Maternity and Parental Leave
Female employees who have given birth can take both maternity and parental leave, but only one period of time for each type of leave. If they also want to take parental leave, they must do so in one block of continuous time that is not interspersed with periods of work.
The total duration of maternity and parental leaves combined cannot exceed 52 weeks.
Hospitalization of the Child During Leave
If the child is hospitalized shortly after birth or adoption, the maternity or parental leave can be interrupted.
The period within which the employee can take the maternity or parental leave will be extended by the number of weeks during which the child is hospitalized. However, regardless of the duration of the hospitalization, maternity leave must end no more than 52 weeks after the date of delivery and parental leave must end no later than 104 weeks after the day on which the child is born or comes into the employee's actual care.
Interruption of parental leave for other Leaves
It is also possible for an employee to interrupt their parental leave in order to take compassionate care leave, leave related to critical illness of a child, leave related to death or disappearance of a child, sick leave, work-related illness and injury leave, or reservist leave (except for the purposes of annual training). Parental leave is to resume immediately after the other leave ends, but cannot extend beyond 104 weeks after the day on which the child is born or comes into the employee's care.
For general information, please consult Maternity-related Reassignment and Leave, Maternity Leave and Parental Leave (Pamphlet 5 - Labour Standards), as well as Pregnant and Nursing Employees (Pamphlet 5 - Health and Safety) in the Occupational Health and Safety series and Division VII of Part III of the Canada Labour Code.
Compassionate Care Leave
An employee can take up to eight weeks of compassionate care leave to look after a family member who is gravely ill.
This leave of absence can be shared by two or more employees when looking after the same family member, but the total amount of leave taken by all cannot equal more than eight weeks within the 26-week period.
For general information, please consult Compassionate Care Leave (Pamphlet 5A - Labour Standards).
For technical guidance, please consult Compassionate Care Leave (IPG-063).
Leave Related to Critical Illness
An employee, whose child is under 18 years of age and is critically ill, is eligible to take up to 37 weeks of leave to provide care or support to his or her child.
If two or more children of an employee are critically ill as a result of the same event, the employee is eligible for only one leave of 37 weeks. However, if two or more children of an employee are critically ill as a result of different events, the employee will be eligible for separate leaves with respect to each affected child.
For general information, please consult Leave Related to Critical Illness (Pamphlet 5B - Labour Standards).
Leave Related to Death or Disappearance
An employee, whose child is under 18 years of age and has disappeared or died as a result of a probable crime, is eligible to take up to 52 weeks of leave in the case of a missing child, and up to 104 weeks of leave if the child has died.
An employee is not entitled to the leave of absence if the employee is charged with the crime or it is probable, considering the circumstances, that the child was a party to the crime.
If two or more children of an employee disappear or are murdered as a result of the same event, the employee is eligible for only one leave of 52 or 104 weeks respectively. However, if two or more children of an employee disappear or are murdered as a result of different events, the employee will be eligible for separate leaves with respect to each affected child.
For general information, please consult Leave Related to Death or Disappearance (Pamphlet 5C - Labour Standards).
All federally regulated employees are entitled to paid bereavement leave for the death of an immediate family member, provided the employee has worked for their employer for three consecutive months beforehand. If they have not, they are entitled to leave without pay.
This benefit enables the employee to take up to three consecutive working days off. These days begin on the day after the death occurs. For example, if their family member dies on a Monday, they are entitled to take Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday off. But if they normally work from Monday to Friday and the death occurs on a Friday, then they are only entitled to take Monday off given that Saturday and Sunday are already days off.
For general information, please consult Bereavement Leave (Pamphlet 6 - Labour Standards).
Note: For this provision, where the collective agreement provides rights and benefits as favourable as or better than the minimum standards set by the Code, and provides for third party settlement of disputes, the requirements of the Code do not apply.
If an employee works in a federally regulated work place or the federal public service, they are allowed to take a leave of absence without pay from their civilian employment to take part in annual training or in certain military operations in Canada or abroad that are designated by the Minister of National Defence. This leave is also available if they are required to train or to report for duty under the National Defence Act.
To qualify for this leave, an employee must have been employed continuously for six months with their current employer. They must provide their employer with four weeks' notice and the duration of their leave. If the employer requests proof that the employee is entitled to the leave, the employee must, within three weeks after the leave starts, provide their employer with a document approved by the Chief of Defence Staff or their commanding officer.
For general information, please consult Reservist Leave (Pamphlet 15 - Labour Standards).
For general information on Reservist leave please refer to the Canadian Forces Liaison Council.
The Canadian Forces Liaison Council has developed and implemented several programs to carry out its mandate to inform employers about the value of part-time military training and to obtain employers' support for the Primary Reserve Force.
For more details on the programs, visit the Employer and Educator Support Programs.
Paid leave of absence
The Canada Labour Code does not provide for paid leave of absence relating to sick leave, maternity and parental leave, compassionate care leave, leave related to critical illness of a child and leave related to death or disappearance of a child. However, the employee may be entitled to such paid leave through the employment insurance benefits under the Employment Insurance Act. For additional information, please consult the Service Canada website.
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