Effective December 1, 2022, federally regulated private sector employers will be required to provide employees with 10 days of paid sick leave pursuant to amendments to Part III of the Canada Labour Code ("CLC"), which originally received royal assent in December 2021.
The changes to the CLC entitle employees to a maximum of 10 paid sick leave days in a calendar year, accrued on a specific schedule consistent with the final regulations recently announced by the Minister of Labour, including:
- As of December 31, 2022, employees who have been continuously employed for at least 30 days will earn their first three days of paid sick leave;
- As of February 1, 2023, employees will acquire a fourth day of paid sick leave and will continue to earn an additional day a month, up to a maximum of 10 days;
- At the end of the calendar year, any unused sick days will carry forward to the next year; however, they will count toward the 10 days that can be earned such that an employee's entitlement will never exceed 10 days; and
- Employers may request a medical certificate for leaves with pay that are five days or longer.
Employers should take note of record-keeping requirements associated with paid sick leave, including tracking the amount of accrued paid sick leave, the number of days carried over, the start and end dates of each leave taken, copies of any requests for medical documentation and actual medication documentation received. In many ways, these requirements mirror employers' existing best practices.
The new paid sick leave regime imposes a new minimum standard. Accordingly, if an existing employer benefit provides more than the new leave requirements (often referred to as a "greater right or benefit"), that benefit will be considered to have met the minimum standard and employees will not be entitled to an additional 10 days.
Employers should use existing methods for calculating employee pay for paid leaves under the CLC to determine the "regular rate of wages" to be paid to employees taking paid sick 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.