Infectious Disease Emergency Leave
Deemed Leave Extended
Ontario Regulation 228/20 (the "Regulation") has been amended by Ontario Regulation 650/21 to extend the period of Infectious Disease Emergency Leave ("IDEL") from March 1, 2020 to January 2, 2022 (the "COVID 19 Period").
Pursuant to the Regulation, certain changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 are effective during the COVID-19 Period. Notably, the Regulation stipulates that where employers unilaterally impose temporary reductions, or eliminations, of wages or hours of work during the COVID-19 Period, for reasons related to COVID-19, such acts do not constitute constructive dismissal pursuant to the ESA unless the relevant employee resigned in response prior to May 29, 2020. During the COVID-19 Period, employees are deemed to be on unpaid IDEL when they are not performing the duties of their position because their employer temporarily reduces or eliminates their hours of work for reasons related to COVID-19.
Paid Leave Extended
The Ontario Government has also filed a new regulation, Ontario Regulation 622/21, which extends the availability of paid IDEL to December 31, 2021.
Three (3) days of paid IDEL are currently available to employees who are covered by the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000, subject to certain eligibility criteria. Paid IDEL may be taken for certain reasons related to COVID-19. Paid IDEL is payable by the employer to the employee to a maximum of $200 per day of leave, subject to reimbursement through the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
Minimum Wage Raised to $14.35 per Hour
Effective October 1, 2021, the general minimum wage in Ontario will increase by 10 cents to $14.35 per hour. This increase is tied to the Ontario Consumer Price Index for 2020.
The general minimum wage rate applies to most Ontario employees. Specialized minimum wages rates will also take effect October 1, 2021, as summarized here.
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