Originally published in Blakes Bulletin on Labour &
Employment, June 2009
Alberta joins the federal government and all of the other
provinces in providing job-protected leave for military reservists.
The Employment Standards (Reservist Leave) Amendment Act,
2009, S.A. 2009, c. 4 (the Act) will come into force on June
30, 2009. The Act amends the Alberta Employment Standards
Code (the Code), by providing leave provisions for members of
the reserve force of the Canadian Forces, consisting of officers
and non-commissioned members who are enrolled for other than
continuing, full-time military service when not on active
Similar to maternity and parental leave provisions in the Code,
reservist leave is unpaid, job-protected leave. Under the amended
Code, an employee who has completed at least 26 consecutive weeks
of employment with an employer, and is a reservist, is entitled to
reservist leave without pay to take part in either:
(a) deployment to a Canadian Forces operation outside
(b) deployment to a Canadian Forces operation inside Canada to
provide assistance in dealing with an emergency or with its
(c) annual training, for an amount up to 20 days in a calendar
(d) an operation or activity set out in the regulations.
Unless the regulation or Act provides otherwise, an employee is
entitled to reservist leave for as long as one of the four
activities mentioned above applies to the employee.
Notice to Employers
Employees intending to take reservist leave must give their
employer at least four weeks' written notice specifying the
start date and an estimated or actual date of return. If this
notice requirement cannot be complied with due to urgent
circumstances, the employee must give notice as soon as is
reasonable and practicable.
Also, employees on reservist leave must give their employers
notice of when they will be returning to work. If an employee is on
reservist leave for longer than four weeks, he or she must give
four weeks' notice, failing which the employer may postpone the
employee's return. If an employee is on reservist leave for
four weeks or less, he or she must give notice as soon as possible
before resuming work.
On the employer's request, the employee must provide
documents from his or her commanding officer specifying that the
employee is taking or has taken part in one of the listed
activities above, the day that the leave is to start or started,
and the estimated or actual length of the leave.
Termination and Resumption of Employment
An employer is restricted from terminating an employee on
reservist leave. An employee must be reinstated to the same or
comparable position upon his or her return to work following
reservist leave. If an employer suspends or discontinues its
business during the employee's reservist leave, but the
business subsequently resumes within 52 weeks following the end of
the employee's leave, the employer must reinstate the employee
to the same position the employee occupied prior to the leave or
provide alternate work in accordance with the seniority system in
place at the time the employee's leave started.
If an employee is on reservist leave on the day by which his or
her vacation must be used, any unused vacation must be used
immediately after the leave expires or, if the employee and
employer agree, on a later date.
It should be noted that several sections in the Code that make
reference to maternity or parental leave are amended to include
references to reservist leave.
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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