Types of leaves you can receive as an employee working in federally regulated industries and workplaces

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

On this page

The Canada Labour Code (Code) provides federally regulated employees with the following unpaid and paid leaves:

Unpaid leaves:

Paid leaves:

The Code establishes minimum requirements. If a collective agreement or arrangement exists providing better protections, the most favorable provisions apply.

If you:

Pension, health and disability benefits continue during most leave periods, provided you pay any contributions you would normally pay. Your employer must also pay at least the same share of contributions as if you were not on leave. However, this does not apply if you do not pay your contributions. Non-payment of contributions for the leave period has no impact on your employment status, which is considered unchanged for purposes of calculating future benefits when returning to work.

Note:

Pension, health and disability benefits do not apply to all leaves. See specific leave sections for more information.

On your written leave request, your employers must inform you of every employment and training opportunity or promotion that arise while you are away on leave. You also continue to accumulate seniority during your absence.

Note:

For the purpose of this web page, reference to “employee(s)” also includes persons that are often referred to as “interns”. It excludes “student interns” who are undertaking internships to fulfill the requirements of their educational program. For more information, see Federal labour standards for interns and student interns.

Maternity-related reassignment and leave (paid and unpaid)

Division VII of Part III of the Code provides for maternity-related reassignment and leave.

If you are an employee who is pregnant or nursing, you can ask your employer to:

  • modify your job, or
  • reassign you to another job if continuing to do your present work poses a risk to the following:
    • your health
    • the health of your unborn child, or
    • the health of your child

This request must include a certificate from a healthcare practitioner. The certificate must indicate:

  • how long the risk will likely last, and
  • what activities/conditions you should avoid

Your employer must consult with you when examining your request. Where reasonably practicable, your employer must modify your job functions or reassign you to another position.

Maternity-related reassignment and leave (paid)

You are entitled to leave with pay at your regular rate of wages while your employer is examining your request for:

  • reassignment, or
  • job modification

This leave will end once the employer either:

  • modifies your job function
  • reassigns you to another job, or
  • informs you that it is not reasonably practicable to modify your functions or reassign you

For the purposes of calculating and determining your regular hourly rate of wages if you are paid on any basis of time other than hourly, your employer shall divide the wages paid for work performed by the number of hours required to perform the work.

Your regular hourly rate of wages may be the rate agreed on under a collective agreement.

The wages paid for work performed do not include:

  • vacation pay
  • general holiday pay
  • other holiday pay
  • bereavement leave pay, and
  • wages paid for any hours of overtime

The number of hours required to perform the work does not include hours for which an overtime rate of wages has been paid.

Maternity-related reassignment and leave (unpaid)

Where a reassignment or a job modification is not reasonably practicable, you may take an unpaid leave of absence for the duration of the risks as indicated in the medical certificate.

As an employee who is pregnant or nursing, you are entitled to an unpaid maternity-related leave of absence during the period from the beginning of the pregnancy to the end of the 24th week following the birth. To take this leave, you must provide your employer with a certificate from a health care practitioner. This certificate must indicate that you are unable to work by reason of the pregnancy or nursing, and the duration of the inability.

Part II of the Code (Occupational Health and Safety) allows you, a pregnant or nursing employee, to stop performing your job if you feel there is a risk to your health or that of your fetus or child until you can obtain a medical certificate. For further details, please consult Pregnant and Nursing Employees (Publication 5- Health and Safety).

Maternity leave and parental leave (unpaid)

Maternity leave (unpaid)

As a pregnant employee, you are entitled to up to 17 weeks of maternity leave. You can take this leave any time during the period that:

  • begins 13 weeks before the expected date of birth, and
  • ends 17 weeks after the actual birth date

You must provide your employer with a certificate from a health care practitioner confirming that you are pregnant. You must also give your employer written notice at least 4 weeks before starting your leave. This notice must advise your employer of the length of the leave.

If your child was not born during the 17 weeks of your maternity leave, the maternity leave is extended until the date of the birth.

As a pregnant employee, you are not obligated to take maternity leave unless your employer can show that you are unable to perform an essential function of your job. The Code does not provide for paid maternity leave. For technical guidance, please consult Maternity leave (IPG-017).

Parental leave (unpaid)

As a natural or adoptive parent, you are also eligible for up to 63 weeks of parental leave. Parents, who both work for federally regulated employers, may share parental leave in order to access an additional 8 weeks of leave. Parents who share the parental leave have access to 71 weeks of parental leave. You can take this leave any time during the following:

  • the 78-week period starting the day your child is born, or
  • the day your child comes into your care

You must also give your employer written notice at least 4 weeks before starting your leave. This notice must advise your employer of the length of the leave.

The Code does not provide for paid parental leave.

You may be entitled to a greater amount of parental leave due to employer policy or under your collective agreements or employment contracts.

Combining maternity leave and parental leave

If you are an employee who has given birth, you can take both maternity and parental leave. If you choose to take parental leave, you must do so in one continuous period without interrupting the leave with periods of work. However, you may interrupt your parental leave in order to take:

  • compassionate care leave
  • leave for court or jury duty
  • leave related to critical illness
  • leave related to death or disappearance of a child
  • medical leave
  • work-related illness and injury leave, or
  • leave of absence for members of the reserve force (except for the purposes of Canadian Armed Forces military skills training)

Parental leave is to resume immediately after the other leave ends. It cannot extend beyond 104 weeks after the day on which the child is born or comes into your care. If you intend to interrupt the parental leave, you must give your employer a written notice of the interruption before or as soon as possible after it begins. You must also give the employer a written notice of the day on which you intend to resume the parental leave.

The combined maternity and parental leaves for 1 parent cannot exceed 78 weeks.

Parents who share the parental leave have access to a combined 86 weeks of maternity and parental leave. You can only share parental leave.

Comparison between maternity and parental leave available under Part III of the Canada Labour Code (Code) and maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance Act (EI)
Scenario Part III Code leave EI benefits
Only maternity leave taken. 17 weeks of maternity leave*. A 1-week non-payable waiting period plus 15 weeks of maternity benefits for 16 weeks in total time.
Only parental leave taken.
(for example, in cases of adoption or where mother does not take maternity leave)
63 weeks maximum if 1 employee takes parental leave and 71 weeks maximum if 2 employees share the parental leave*. A 1-week non-payable waiting period** plus either up to 35 or 61 weeks of parental benefits for 1 employee. Employees sharing parental benefits may access 40 or 69 weeks of shared parental benefits.
Both maternity and parental leave taken Up to 17 weeks of maternity leave and up to 63 weeks of parental leave for the eligible parent who chooses to take the combined maternity and parental leave, for a maximum of 78 weeks. If the parental leave is shared by both parents, the leave increases to 86 weeks**. A 1-week non-payable waiting period* plus 15 weeks of maternity benefits plus either a potential 35 or 61 weeks of parental benefits for 1 employee. Employees sharing parental benefits may access 40 or 69 weeks of shared parental benefits.

* You do not have to collect EI maternity and/or parental benefits to be eligible to take maternity and/or parental leave provided under Part III of the Code.

** If both parents share the parental benefits, only one, 1-week waiting period applies.

You can interrupt maternity or parental leave if your child is hospitalized

If your child is hospitalized shortly after birth or adoption, you can interrupt maternity or parental leave and temporarily return to work with consent from your employer.

When interrupting maternity or parental leave to return to work, as a result of the hospitalization of your child, you must give your employer written notice, as soon as possible. Your employer must advise you in writing, within a week of receiving the notice, of their decision to accept or refuse your request to return to work.

If your employer accepts the request to interrupt the leave, they may ask you to provide a medical certificate within 15 days of your return to work. This certificate must confirm that your child is hospitalized. If you have temporarily returned to work, you must also provide your employer with a written notice, as soon as possible, of the date on which the leave will resume.

If your employer refuses your request to return to work or does not advise you within a week, you may extend your leave by the number of weeks during which your child is hospitalized.

Regardless of how long your child is hospitalized:

  • maternity leave must end no more than 52 weeks after the date of birth, and
  • parental leave must end no later than 104 weeks after the day on which your child is born or comes into your actual care
When you return to work, your employer must reinstate you

Upon returning from maternity or parental leave, your employer must reinstate you in your former position or give you a comparable position. This position should be in the same location and with the same wages and benefits.

However, if you interrupt your parental leave to take another leave, you are subject to the reinstatement conditions that apply to the leaves stated in the section above. For example, if you resume parental leave after taking medical leave and are no longer able to perform the work performed prior to taking the leave, the employer may reinstate you to a different position with different terms and conditions of employment.

If, during a leave period, your employer reduces the wages and benefits of a group of employees as part of a reorganization plan, you will receive the same wages and benefits as if you had been at work during the reorganization if you are reinstated in that group. Likewise, if an employer increases the wages and benefits for your group during the leave, you would be entitled to the increases upon your return to work.

Compassionate care leave (unpaid)

As an employee, you can take up to 28 weeks of compassionate care leave within a 52-week period to look after a family member who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death.

The leave begins during one of the following weeks, whichever occurs first:

  • the week the health care practitioner signs the medical certificate
  • the week the health care practitioner examines the gravely ill family member, or
  • the week the family member becomes gravely ill, if the health care practitioner can determine that date (for example, the date of the test results)

The leave ends when:

  • the 28 weeks of compassionate care are complete
  • the gravely ill family member dies or no longer requires care or support, or
  • the 52-week period expires

Two or more employees can share compassionate care leave when looking after the same family member. However, the total amount of leave taken by all cannot be more than 28 weeks within the 52-week period.

You can consecutively take the leave related to critical illness to care for the same person if you are eligible. However, you cannot take compassionate care leave if 1 or more employees are taking the leave related to critical illness in respect of the same person.

The Code does not provide for paid compassionate care leave.

For guidance on the application of the compassionate care leave, please consult Compassionate Care leave – 808-1-IPG-063.

Medical certificates: On a temporary basis only (ending on September 30, 2020), you are not required to provide a medical certificate to take this leave. This is in response to the COVID-19 emergency, as of March 25, 2020.

Written notice and documentation required

You must also give your employer written notice, as soon as possible, advising of the reason(s) for the leave and the intended length of the leave. If the leave taken is more than 4 weeks and you want to change the length of the leave, you must provide the employer with 4 weeks’ notice, unless there is a valid reason why this is not possible.

If requested by your employer in writing, you must provide a certificate from a health care practitioner within 15 days of your return to work. This certificate must state that your family member has a serious medical condition and as a result, there was significant risk of death within 26 weeks.

You can interrupt this leave for other leaves

It is possible for you to interrupt your compassionate care leave in order to take:

  • medical leave, or
  • work-related illness and injury leave

Compassionate care leave is to resume immediately after the other leave ends. However, it cannot extend beyond 52 weeks after the day on which the leave started.

You must give your employer a written notice of the interruption before or as soon as you are able after it begins. You must provide your employer with a written notice of the day on which you intend to resume the compassionate care leave before or as soon as you are able after that day.

Renewing or separating compassionate care leave

It is possible for you to renew compassionate care leave. However, the initial 52 weeks must expire before you can take another 28 weeks of leave. If you do not take all of the 28 weeks of leave within the 52-week period, you will lose the remaining weeks.

You can take separate, non-consecutive shorter periods of leaves (not to exceed the 28-week maximum) within the 52-week period if your family member has several episodes of a serious medical condition. To do this, you must provide your employer with a medical certificate issued from a health care practitioner for each period of leave. You can take a leave of absence for compassionate care in 1 or more periods of a minimum of 1 week in duration.

When you return to work, your employer must reinstate you

Upon your return to work, your employer must reinstate you in your former position or give you a comparable position in the same location and with the same wages and benefits.

If, during a leave period, your employer reduces the wages and benefits of a group of employees as part of a reorganization plan and if you are reinstated in that group you will receive the same wages and benefits that you would have received if you were working during the reorganization. If your employer increases the wages and benefits for your group during leave, you would be entitled to the increases upon your return to work.

Leave related to critical illness

If you are an employee who is a family member of a critically ill child or adult, you are eligible to take:

  • up to 37 weeks of leave in a 52-week period to provide care or support to the child under 18 years of age, and
  • up to 17 weeks of leave in a 52-week period to provide care or support to the adult

The leave can start on the first day of the week the medical certificate is issued or the day from which the health care practitioner certifies that the child or adult is critically ill. If the child or adult dies while you are on leave, the leave ends on the last day of that week.

If 2 or more children are critically ill, you are eligible for separate leaves of 37 weeks with respect to each affected child.

The Code does not provide for paid leave related to critical illness.

Medical certificates and documentation: In response to the COVID-19 emergency, as of March 25, 2020, on a temporary basis (ending on September 30, 2020), you are not required to provide the following:

  • a medical certificate to take this leave, and
  • documentation in support of the reasons for the leave or change in the length of the leave
Written notice and documentation required

To take this leave, you must provide your employer with a written notice, as soon as possible. This notice must advise your employer of the reason(s) for the leave and the intended length of the leave. If you take more than 4 weeks of leave and you want to change the length of the leave, you must provide your employer with 4 weeks’ notice, unless there is a valid reason not to do so.

You must also provide your employer with a certificate from a health care practitioner. The certificate must state that the child or adult is critically ill or injured and requires the care or support of 1 or more of their family members.

Combining or changing length of leave

Two or more family members can take leave at the same time, or one after the other. However, the combined length of the leave cannot exceed 37 weeks within a 52-week period for a child and 17 weeks within a 52-week period for an adult.

You can take separate, non-consecutive shorter periods of leave (not to exceed the 37-week maximum for a child and the 17-week maximum for an adult) within the 52-week period if the child has several episodes of critical illness. To do this, you must provide your employer with a certificate issued from a health care practitioner for each period of leave. You can take a leave of absence for critical illness in 1 or more periods of a minimum of 1-week duration.

You may not take leave due to critical illness for a child or an adult while 1 or more employees are taking compassionate care leave for the same person and vice versa. However, you may take this leave consecutively.

You can also change the length of leave by notifying your employer in writing as soon as possible.

You can interrupt this leave for other leaves

It is possible for you to interrupt your leave related to critical illness in order to take:

  • medical leave, or
  • work-related illness and injury leave

Leave related to critical illness is to resume immediately after the other leave ends, but cannot extend beyond 52 weeks after the leave commenced.

If you intend to interrupt the leave related to critical illness, you must give your employer a written notice of the interruption before or as soon as possible after it begins. You must also give your employer a written notice of the day on which leave related to critical illness will resume, before or as soon as possible after that day.

When you return to work, your employer must reinstate you

Upon your return to work, your employer must reinstate you in your former position or give you a comparable position in the same location and with the same wages and benefits.

However, if you take a leave of more than 4 weeks but request to end the leave earlier without giving at least 4 weeks’ written notice, your employer may postpone your return to work. Your employer may postpone your return to work up to 4 weeks after the day on which you inform them of the new date. In that case, your employer must inform you of this decision and the period of postponement is considered to be part of the leave.

If, during a leave period, your employer reduces the wages and benefits of a group of employees as part of a reorganization plan and if you are reinstated in that group you will receive the same wages and benefits that you would have received if you were at work during the reorganization. If your employer increases the wages and benefits for your group during their leave, you are entitled to the increases upon your return to work.

Leave related to death or disappearance of a child (unpaid)

If you are an employee whose child is under 18 years of age and has disappeared or died as a result of a probable crime under the Criminal Code, you are eligible to take up to:

  • 52 weeks of leave in the case of a missing child, starting on the day the disappearance occurs, and
  • 104 weeks of leave if the child has died, starting on the day the death occurs

To take this leave, you must be the:

  • legal parent
  • adoptive parent
  • a person with whom the child was placed for the purpose of adoption, or
  • an individual with legal custody or guardianship of the child who has died or disappeared

You are not eligible for this leave if you are charged with the crime, or, if it is probable, considering the circumstances, that the child was a party to the crime.

The Code does not provide for paid leave related to death or disappearance of a child.

You may, however, be entitled to financial assistance from the Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered of Missing Children grant. Get informed about the Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime, or contact us.

How you qualify for the leave

In order for you to qualify for the 104-week leave, it will be necessary to establish that the child has died, and that death was the result of a probable crime. Although this normally requires finding the child’s body, there may be cases where the child’s death and the criminal nature of that death are clear, despite the inability to find or identify the child’s remains.

If a child who disappeared is then found dead as a result of a probable crime within 52 weeks after the child’s disappearance, you will be entitled to the 104-week leave. This starts from the day the child disappeared. In this case, you would have to notify your employer of the change in the length of the leave.

If a child is found to have died as a result of a probable crime more than 52 weeks after the child’s disappearance (after the employee is no longer entitled to leave related to disappearance), you are entitled to a new leave of 104 weeks. This new leave starts on the day the child is found dead and ends 104 weeks after that day (assuming that the death was the result of a probable crime). However, if the child’s body is found after they already establish the death and you have taken a leave related to the death of a child, you are not entitled to a new leave.

If a missing child is found, then the leave of absence ends 14 days after the day on which the child is found. However, it must end no later than the 52-week period.

Written notice and documentation required

To obtain this leave, you must advise your employer in writing as soon as possible of the reason(s) for the leave. You must also notify your employer of the planned length of the leave. You must notify your employer in writing of any changes in the length of the leave as soon as possible.

If the length of the leave is longer than 4 weeks, you must give your employer at least 4 week’s notice of any change in length of leave, unless there is a valid reason why this is not possible. If the leave is for a disappeared child who is then found dead, you can change the type of leave by notifying your employer in writing as soon as possible.

If requested by your employer, you must provide a proof of entitlement to the leave, such as a police report.

Changing and combining the length of the leave

You can change the length of your leave by notifying your employer in writing as soon as possible. The leave will end on the day on which the circumstances are such that it is no longer probable that the death or disappearance was the result of a crime.

You may take this leave in shorter, non-consecutive periods. However, you cannot extend the period within which you take the leave. For example, you could take 30 weeks of leave where your child was murdered. You may then decide to return to work for 60 weeks, and then resume leave for the remaining 14 weeks to attend a criminal trial related to the child’s murder.

Both parents can take leave at the same time, or one after the other. However, if both parents worked for federally regulated employers, the combined length of the leave cannot exceed 52 weeks for a missing child and 104 weeks for a child who has died. For example, where a child has disappeared, you could each take 26 weeks of leave at the same time or any other combination (example: parent A, 28 weeks and parent B, 24 weeks) so long as the leave that does not exceed a total of 52 weeks.

When 2 or more children are missing or murdered

If you are an employee who has 2 or more children under 18 years of age, who have disappeared or are murdered as a result of the same event, you are eligible for:

  • only 1 leave of 52 weeks, if they have disappeared, and
  • only 1 leave of 104 weeks, if they are murdered

If you are an employee who has 2 or more children under 18 years of age who have disappeared or are murdered as a result of different events, you are eligible for:

  • 52 weeks of leave for each of the affected child, if they have disappeared, and
  • up to 104 weeks of leave for each of the affected child, if they are murdered
You can interrupt this leave for other leaves

It is possible for you to interrupt your leave related to death or disappearance in order to:

  • take medical leave, or
  • work-related illness and injury leave

Leave related to death or disappearance is to resume immediately after the other leave ends. However, it cannot extend beyond 104 weeks after the day on which the death occurs, or 52 weeks after the day on which the disappearance occurs.

If you intend to interrupt leave related to death or disappearance, you must give your employer a written notice of the interruption before or as soon as possible after it begins. You must also give your employer a written notice of the day on which leave related to death or disappearance will resume, before or as soon as possible after that day.

When you return to work, your employer must reinstate you

Upon your return to work, your employer must reinstate you in your former position or give you a comparable position in the same location and with the same wages and benefits.

If you take a leave of more than 4 weeks but request to end the leave earlier without giving at least 4 weeks’ written notice, you employer may postpone your return to work. Your employer can postpone your return to work for a period of up to 4 weeks after the day on which you inform them of the new date. In that case, your employer must inform you of this decision and the period of postponement is considered as part of the leave.

If, during a leave period, your employer reduces the wages and benefits of a group of employees as part of a reorganization plan and if you are reinstated in that group you will receive no more than the wages and benefits that you would have received if you were working during the reorganization. If your employer increases the wages and benefits for your group during the leave, you are entitled to the increases upon your return to work.

Personal leave (paid and unpaid)

As an employee, you are entitled to up to 5 days of personal leave per calendar year to:

  • treat an injury or illness
  • take care of health obligations for any member of your family or care for them
  • take care of obligations related to the education of any family member under age 18
  • manage any urgent situation that concerns you or a family member
  • attend your citizenship ceremony under the Citizenship Act, or
  • manage any other situation prescribed by regulation

You can take this leave over more than 1 period, however your employer may require that each period be at least 1 day.

Your employer may request that you provide supporting documents concerning the reasons for the leave. Your employer may request this up to 15 days after your return to work. You must provide supporting documents if it is possible to obtain and provide them.

Paid personal leave

If you have 3 consecutive months of continuous employment with the same employer, the first 3 days of leave are paid. If your salary varies from one day to another or you receive pay on a basis other than an hourly rate, you must receive the average of your daily earnings, exclusive of overtime hours, for the 20 days you have worked immediately before the first day of leave.

Leave for victims of family violence (paid and unpaid)

As an employee, you are entitled to up to 10 days of leave per calendar year if you are:

  • victim of family violence, or
  • the parent of a child who is a victim of family violence

This leave allows you to take up to 10 days of leave to engage in activities, such as:

  • to seek medical attention for yourself or your child in respect of a physical or psychological injury or disability
  • to obtain services from an organization which provides services to victims of family violence
  • to obtain psychological or other professional counselling
  • to relocate temporarily or permanently
  • to seek legal or law enforcement assistance or to prepare for or participate in any civil or criminal legal proceeding, or
  • to take any measure prescribed by regulation

You can take this leave in more than 1 period, however, your employer may require that each period be at least 1 day.

To take this leave, you shall provide your employer with written notice indicating the duration of your leave as soon as possible. If there is a change in the length of the leave, you must provide your employer with written notice. The employer may request, within 15 days of your return to work, that you provide supporting documents concerning the reasons for the leave. You must provide supporting documents if it is possible to obtain and provide them.

You are not eligible for this leave if you are accused of an infraction related to the act of family violence. You are also not eligible for this leave if the circumstances allow one to believe it is probable that you committed the act of violence.

Paid leave for victims of family violence

If you have 3 consecutive months of continuous employment with the same employer, you will receive pay for the first 5 days of leave.

If your salary varies from one day to another or you receive pay on a basis other than an hourly rate, you must receive the average of your daily earnings, exclusive of overtime hours, for the 20 days you have worked immediately before the first day of leave.

Meaning of “child” and “parent”

A “child” means a person who is age 18 and under. A “parent” means, with respect to a child, a person who, in law is:

  • a parent (including an adoptive parent)
  • has custody of or, in Quebec, parental authority over the child
  • is the guardian of or, in Quebec, the tutor to the person of the child, or
  • with whom the child is placed for the purposes of adoption under the laws governing adoption in the province in which the person resides

Leave for traditional Aboriginal practices (unpaid)

In this section, Aboriginal means Indian, Inuit or Métis. If you are an Aboriginal employee with at least 3 months of continuous employment, you are entitled to take up to 5 days of leave per calendar year. You may take this leave in order to take part in traditional Aboriginal practices including:

  • fishing
  • hunting
  • harvesting
  • all practices prescribed by regulation

You can take your leave over more than 1 period, however, your employer may require that each period be a least 1 day. Your employer may request that you provide documentation demonstrating that you are Aboriginal. Your employer may request this up to 15 days after your return to work. You must provide supporting documents if it is possible to obtain and provide them.

The Code does not provide for paid leave for traditional Aboriginal practices.

Leave for court or jury duty (unpaid)

As an employee, you are entitled to unpaid leave for the time necessary to participate in a judicial proceeding as a:

  • witness
  • juror, or
  • candidate in a jury selection process

You must provide your employer with a written notice. In addition, your employer may require supporting documents.

Bereavement leave (paid and unpaid)

As an employee, you are entitled to 5 days of bereavement leave in the event of a death of an immediate family member. You can take this leave over more than 1 period starting the day on which the death occurs and ending 6 weeks after the date of the:

  • funeral
  • the burial, or
  • the memorial service of that immediate family member

You must provide your employer with written notice as soon as possible, indicating the start date and length of the leave. At your request, your employer may extend the period during which you take the leave of absence. Your employer must make this extension in writing.

Paid bereavement leave

If you have 3 consecutive months of continuous employment with your employer, you will receive pay for the first 3 days of leave.

If your salary varies from one day to another or you receive pay on a basis other than an hourly rate, you must receive the average of your daily earnings, exclusive of overtime hours, for the 20 days you have worked immediately before the first day of leave.

Medical leave (unpaid) and leave for work-related illness and injury (unpaid)

As an employee, you are entitled to medical leave protection of up to 17 weeks for:

  • illness or injury
  • organ or tissue donation, or
  • attending medical appointments

Medical certificates: On a temporary basis (ending on September 30, 2020), you are not required to provide a medical certificate to take this leave. This is in response to the COVID-19 emergency, as of March 25, 2020.

If a medical leave of absence is 3 days or longer, your employer may require that you provide a certificate issued by a health care practitioner. If requested, you must provide one, in writing, within 15 days of your return to work. This certificate must certify that you were unable to work for the time you were absent from work.

On your return to work, the employer may reassign you to another position if you are unable to perform any of your previous job functions.

The Code does not provide for paid medical leave.

Leave for work-related illness and injury (unpaid)

If you are an employee who suffers from a work-related illness or injury, you are entitled to leave.

Employers must subscribe to a plan that will replace the wages for this kind of leave. The rate will be a rate equivalent to the one provided by the provincial or territorial workers’ compensation in your province of permanent residence.

Where reasonably practicable, your employer shall return you to work after a work-related illness or injury. Your employer may reassign you to a different position, with different terms and conditions of employment, if you are unable to perform your work due to a work-related illness or injury.

You can interrupt other leaves to take medical leave and work-related illness and injury leave

It is possible for you to interrupt other leaves in order to take medical leave or work-related illness and injury leave.

The other leaves are:

  • parental leave
  • compassionate care leave
  • leave related to critical illness, and
  • leave related to death or disappearance

In such a case, the other leave resumes immediately after the medical leave or work-related illness and injury leave ends.

An employer can offer you long-term disability plans

An employer can offer you long-term disability (LTD) benefits to protect you against the possibility of income loss, due to a medical event that would make you unable to work for an extended period.

As of July 1, 2014, employers who offer LTD plans must insure them, which guarantees that you continue to receive benefits in the event your employer is unable to pay debts owed or files for bankruptcy. However, insurance is not required if you started receiving LTD benefits or have applied to receive benefits prior to this date.

An employer will need to contact their licensed insurance provider to insure their LTD plan under the laws of a province. An employer may be required to provide proof to a Labour Program inspector noting they insured their LTD plan. Employers who are guilty and convicted of not insuring their LTD plan may be subject to a fine of up to $250,000 for the first and any following offence.

Leave related to COVID-19 (unpaid)

As an employee, you are entitled to up to 28 weeks of job-protected leave if you are unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19. For example, you may take this leave if you are:

  • quarantined or asked to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19
  • required to provide care to a family member who is quarantined due to COVID-19 or sick with COVID-19, or
  • required to care for a child whose school or daycare center has been cancelled due to COVID-19

To take this leave, you must provide your employer with written notice, as soon as possible, of the reason for the leave and the length of leave you intend to take. You must also notify your employer in writing, as soon as possible, of any changes to the length of the leave.

Your employer may also require that you provide a written declaration in support of the reasons for the leave and any change to the length of your leave.

You are not required to obtain and provide a certificate from a health care practitioner.

The Code does not provide for paid leave related to COVID-19.

Note:

This a temporary leave and we will repeal it on October 1, 2020.

While on this leave, you may be eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) gives financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19.

Leave of absence for members of the reserve force (unpaid)

If you have 3 consecutive months of continuous employment with the same employer, you are entitled to a leave of absence from your civilian employment to take part in:

  • an operation in Canada or abroad that is designated by the Minister of National Defence
  • an activity set out in the regulations
  • Canadian Armed Forces military skills training
  • training that you are ordered to take under the National Defence Act
  • duties that you are called out on service to perform (any lawful duty other than training) under the National Defence Act
  • service in aid of a civil power for which you are called out under the National Defence Act
  • treatment, recovery or rehabilitation in respect of a physical or mental health problem that results from service in an operation or activity listed in the Code

As a reservist, you are entitled to 24 months of leave in a 60-month period, except in the event of a national emergency, within the meaning of the Emergencies Act.

The Minister of Labour may decide that you are not entitled to a leave of absence for members of the reserve force if taking such leave would cause undue hardship to your employer or have an adverse effect on public health or safety.

The Code does not provide for paid leave of absence for members of the reserve force.

For general information, please consult the Canadian Forces Liaison Council.

Written notice and documentation required

To take this leave, you must provide a 4 weeks’ written notice to your employer indicating:

  • the length of the leave, unless you gave a valid reason not to do so, and
  • your intention to extend or shorten the leave, unless you have a valid reason not to do so

Your employer can request within 3 weeks after the start date of the leave, proof that you qualify for this leave. In this case, you must provide documentation approved by the Chief of the Defence Staff or their Commander, unless there is a valid reason not to do so.

If you did not specify the length of the leave before it started and you give the employer less than 4 weeks’ notice of the end date, your employer may delay your return to work by up to 4 weeks after receiving notice. Any waiting period before returning to work is considered as part of the leave.

You may extend or shorten this leave

You may extend or shorten your leave period once it has started. As a reservist, you may extend your leave if you need to receive treatments or undergo a rehabilitation program to recover from a physical or mental problem resulting from your service while on leave.

If you shorten your leave:

  • you must give at least 4 weeks’ notice before the new date on which it would end, unless you have a valid reason not to do so

If you extend your leave:

  • you must give at least 4 weeks’ notice before the date on which the leave was previously scheduled to end, unless you have a valid reason no to do so
When you return to work, your employer must reinstate you

Upon your return to work, your employer must reinstate you in your former position or give you a comparable position in the same location and with the same wages and benefits. If you are no longer able to perform the function of the original position, or those of a comparable position, your employer may assign you to a different position with different terms and conditions of employment.

If, during a leave period, your employer reduces the wages and benefits of a group of employees as part of a reorganization plan and if you are reinstated in that group you will receive no more than the wages and benefits that you would have received if you had been at work during the reorganization. If your employer increases the wages and benefits for your group during the leave, you would be entitled to the increases upon your return to work. Your employer must inform you of any change to wages and benefits resulting from a reorganization by sending you a notice to your last known address.

If you encounter difficulties upon returning to your civilian position, it is suggested that you discuss the situation with your employer and include the information in this web page. If problems persist, contact a regional Labour Program Officer, who will be able to answer any questions and give advice to both parties on the requirements of this legislation.

If a collective agreement is in place but is silent on the leave of absence for members of the reserve force, your employer must still grant you the leave, because the collective agreement must include provisions that are at least equal to those of the Code.

Your employer is not required to contribute to pension plans or other employee benefits

Your employer is not required to contribute to the following while you are on this leave:

  • pension plans
  • health insurance
  • disability insurance, or
  • other employee benefits

Related links

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: