Effective October 29, 2014, Bill 21 will come into force, adding
three entirely new leaves of absence to the existing list of
authorized leaves under the Employment Standards Act 2000 (the
"ESA" or the "Act").
Current leaves under the ESA include
"pregnancy" and "parental" leaves, "organ
donor" leave, "personal" and "declared"
emergency leaves and "reservist" leave. The Act
specifies the criteria required to qualify for, and the permitted
duration of these leaves of absence.
New Leaves Effective October 29, 2014
Effective October 29, 2014, The Act will provide for
the following new leaves of absence, introduced by Bill 21: the
Employment Standards Act Amendment Act (Leaves to Help
Family Caregiver Leave
Employees that need to provide care to family members with a
"serious medical condition" will be entitled to up to 8
weeks of leave without pay. "Family member" includes:
the employee's spouse;
a parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the
a child, step-child or foster-child of the employee or the
a grandparent, step-grandparent , grandchild or step-grandchild
of the employee or the employee's spouse;
the spouse of a child of the employee;
the employee's brother or sister;
a relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for
care or assistance; and
any individual prescribed as a family member for the purposes
of the Act.
The employer may require a medical certificate. This leave need
not be taken all at once, but must be taken in full weeks.
Critically Ill Child care Leave
Employees with at least 6 consecutive months of service are
entitled to up to 37 weeks unpaid leave to provide care to a
critically ill child. The definition of "critically ill
child" mirrors that contained in the Employment Insurance
Act, but is more broad, extending to "step-child"
and "foster-child". Employers may require a medical
Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave
Employees with at least 6 months consecutive service are
entitled to unpaid leave of up to 52 weeks where their child has
disappeared due to crime, and up to 104 weeks in the event of death
resulting from crime. Exceptions include situations where the
employee is charged with the crime or the child is a party to the
Rules Respecting Leaves
With respect to most authorized leaves under the Act,
employers are obligated to continue benefits coverage unless the
employee elects in writing not to have coverage maintained.
Workers returning from a leave of absence authorized under the
ESA are entitled to be reinstated to their exact position,
unless that position no longer exists, in which case they are
entitled to be placed in a position that is "comparable"
in all respects. This reinstatement obligation is not breached
where the employment is "ended solely for reasons unrelated to
If you would like more information about leaves of absence under
the Act, please contact us any time.
Peter Straszynski is a partner in our Employment & Labour
Group. He assists employers with all of their labour and employment
issues, from the hiring to the post-termination stages of
employment, in both the union and non-union settings.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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