by: Anu Bakshi
Let’s start 2018 with some good news. There are recent changes to the Employment Standards Act that will assist injured persons and their families in coping with all the stressors of disability. Although media attention has been focused on the $15/hour minimum wage increase effective January 1, 2019, be aware of Leave of Absences/Extended Vacation modifications that you or your loved ones may qualify for:
Personal Emergency Leave:
All employees are entitled to ten days per year, regardless of the size of the employer. The first two days of the leave must be paid and employees must have worked for a minimum of one week to become entitled to the two paid days. The employee needs to let the employer know before they start the leave, but if this is not feasible, then as soon as possible after starting the leave. Employers may require evidence of entitlement to these days, but cannot require a doctor’s note.
Family Medical Leave:
An employee may be entitled to a Family medical leave of up to 28 weeks in a fifty-two (52) week period.
Critical Illness Leave:
Under this new leave, employees who have been employed for at least six (6) consecutive months will be entitled to:
- Up to thirty-seven (37) weeks in a fifty-two (52) week period to provide care or support to a critically ill minor child who is a family member of the employee; and
- Up to seventeen (17) weeks in a fifty-two (52) week period to provide care or support to a critically ill adult who is a family member of the employee.
The scope of “family member” is quite broad.
Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave
For employees who have been employed for at least 13 consecutive weeks, this new leave provides up to 10 individual days of leave and up to 15 weeks of job-protected leave when an employee or their child has experienced, or is threatened with, domestic and/or sexual violence. The first five days of the leave each calendar year would be paid, while the rest would be unpaid.
The new legislation also requires employers to put mechanisms in place to protect the confidentiality of records they receive or produce in relation to an employee taking a domestic or sexual violence leave. These leave provisions came into force on January 1, 2018.
Child Death Leave:
An employee may be eligible to up to 104 weeks of unpaid leave for all child deaths, regardless of the reason. This leave also extends to a crime-related disappearance of a child.
Increasing Paid Vacation:
Paid vacation has been increased to three weeks after five years of service with the same employer.
This legislation is recent, so it is important to spread the word so employess and their families can access these important resources.