On December 17, 2021, the Canada Labour Code was amended to expand paid medical leave for employees in federally-regulated industries and workplaces.
As part of those amendments, effective December 1, 2022, federally-regulated private sector employees are entitled to earn up to a maximum of ten (10) days of paid medical leave each calendar year.
These amendments apply to federally-regulated private sector employers. Federally-regulated industries are typically railways, shipping, trucking, airports and airlines, telecommunications and broadcasting, banks and First Nations Band Councils.
The new medical leave provisions do not affect employees in the federal public service or provincially regulated employers.
Changes to Personal Leave Entitlements
In order to avoid any duplication of leave entitlements, the provisions of the Canada Labour Code providing for personal leave relating to the employee’s illness or injury were repealed. The remaining personal leave provisions, along with other unpaid leave provisions, were left unchanged.
New Paid Leave Entitlements
The Canada Labour Code now provides for up to a maximum of ten (10) days of paid sick leave per calendar year. An employee receives their first three (3) days of paid leave once they complete thirty (30) days of continuous employment with their employer. They then accrue one (1) additional day of paid leave at the beginning of each month following a completed calendar month of continuous employment, up to a maximum of ten (10) days per calendar year.
For instance, an employee who starts on January 25, 2023 will receive three (3) days of paid medical leave after completing thirty (30) days of employment. As such, the employee will have access to their first three (3) days of paid medical leave as of February 24, 2023. Afterwards, they will earn one (1) day of paid medical leave at the beginning of each month following a completed calendar month of employment, up to a maximum of 10 days per year. In this example, the employee will, therefore, have access to their fourth day of paid medical leave on April 1, 2023, and their fifth day on May 1, 2023, and so on.
In addition, the new amendments also set out the following obligations:
- employers have the discretion to require that each period of leave be at least one (1) day in duration;
- each day of leave must be paid at the employee’s regular wage rate for their normal hours of work;
- any unused days in one year will be credited toward the maximum of ten (10) days that can be earned in the following year; and
- employees who change from one applicable federally regulated employer to another throughout the year, whether due to the lease or transfer of work, undertaking or business due to a contract being awarded through a retendering process, are deemed to have been continuously employed with one employer.
Where an employee takes at least five (5) consecutive days of leave, an employer may make a written request for a medical certificate within fifteen (15) days after the employee’s return to work.
Additional regulations require employers to keep detailed records for each period of leave. These records must include the start and end dates of the leave period, the number of days carried over from a previous year and the employee’s year of employment.
Employers seeking guidance regarding changes to federal paid leaves should contact a member of our labour and employment team.
Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.