Bereavement leave

The Canada Labour Code provides for bereavement leave in division VIII of part III.

The following questions and answers will be of interest to employers and employees under federal jurisdiction. Pamphlet 1 of this series describes the types of businesses covered by the Code. It is available from any Labour Program office and on the Labour Program website.

On this page

  1. Bereavement leave entitlement under the Code
  2. Employees entitled to bereavement leave
  3. Pay entitlement for bereavement leave
  4. Calculating earnings owed to employees whose hours of work differ from day to day or who is paid on a basis other than time
  5. The maximum number of leave days under this provision
  6. Division of leave
  7. Definition of “Immediate family”
  8. Cases where the bereavement leave provisions of a collective agreement apply exclusively

1. Bereavement leave entitlement under the Code?

An employee is entitled to and shall be granted, in the event of the death of a member of their immediate family, a leave of absence from employment of up to 5 days that may be taken during the period that begins on the day on which the death occurs and ends 6 weeks after the latest of the days on which any funeral, burial or memorial service of that immediate family member occurs.

At the request of the employee, the employer may extend, in writing, the period during which the leave of absence from employment may be taken.

Every employee who takes the leave of absence shall, as soon as possible, provide the employer with written notice of the beginning of any period of leave of absence and of the length of that leave.

2. Employees entitled to bereavement leave

All employees, without exception, are entitled to bereavement leave.

3. Pay entitlement for bereavement leave

If the employee has completed 3 consecutive months of continuous employment with the employer, the employee is entitled to the first 3 days of the leave with pay at their regular rate of wages for their normal hours of work, and such pay shall for all purposes be considered to be wages.

An employee who has not completed 3 consecutive months of continuous employment is still entitled to the leave but without pay.

4. Calculating earnings owed to employees whose hours of work differ from day to day or who is paid on a basis other than time

The employer must calculate the average of the employee’s daily earnings exclusive of overtime hours for the 20 days the employee has worked immediately preceding the first day of bereavement leave.

If the leave is taken in 2 periods, the same calculation must be made for each period.

If the employee is covered by a collective agreement, the amount calculated by a method agreed on under or pursuant to a collective agreement that is binding on the employer and the employee.

5. The maximum number of leave days under this provision

The maximum leave days is five.

6. Division of leave

The leave of absence may be taken in one or 2 periods. The employer may require that any period of leave be of not less than one day’s duration.

At the request of the employee, the employer may extend, in writing, the period during which the leave of absence from employment may be taken.

7. Definition of "Immediate family”

The employee's spouse or common-law partner; the employee's father and mother and the spouse or common-law partner of the father or mother; the employee's child(ren) and the child(ren) of the employee's spouse or common-law partner; the employee's grandchild(ren); the employee's brothers and sisters; the grandfather and grandmother of the employee; the father and mother of the spouse or common-law partner of the employee and the spouse or common-law partner of the father or mother; and any relative of the employee who resides permanently with the employee or with whom the employee permanently resides.

"Common-law partner" means a person who has been cohabiting with an individual in a conjugal relationship for at least one year, or who had been so cohabiting with the individual for at least one year immediately before the individual's death.

8. Cases where the bereavement leave provisions of a collective agreement apply exclusively

The bereavement leave provisions of the Code do not apply to employers and employees who are parties to a collective agreement that provides rights and benefits at least as favourable as those in the Code and where there is provision for third party settlement. In this case, the settlement of disagreements relating to bereavement leave issues is governed exclusively by the collective agreement.

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